Justin Upton to Tigers

jupPer Bob Nightengale, Justin Upton has signed a deal in principle with the Detroit Tigers, six years for $132.75 million dollars with an opt-out option after two years. The deal is pending Upton passing a physical.

Upton is now the third highest-paid free-agent position player this winter behind Jason Heyward (eight years, $184 million with Chicago) and Chris Davis (seven years, $161 million, Orioles).

JUp hit .251 with 26 home runs and 81 RBIs with the Padres last year. He has a .271 average and 190 home runs in nine seasons split among the Diamondbacks, Braves, and Padres.

31 thoughts on “Justin Upton to Tigers

    • Comparatively yes. I thought no Detroit is hoping he takes the opt out because if not they will have several high contracts in a few years. It’s much lower than I thought he would pull down so at least for the moment looks really nice for Detroit. Additionally their first round pick is protected and their second pick is already gone so they only lost a third rounder for him. Bonus!


        • Well, given this ($22M/yr for Upton, $23M/yr Heyward, plus 3.5 bWAR/yr Upton over last 7 vs. 5.1 bWAR/yr for Heyward over last 6), why didn’t the Tigers chase Heyward more aggressively in the first place? Especially with a pitching-friendly, defense-friendly park, the Tigers could have used Heyward’s toolkit a lot more than Upton’s.

          So, possibly somewhat an overpay all; per Lefty, below, possibly a fairly big overpay for the Tigers.

          (Oh, and I’ll say odds are only 50-50 he opts out.)


        • All Lefty said is his fantasy team is pissed off because he did not go to a hitter friendly park?

          Why didn’t the Tigers pursue Heyward? I’ll text Al Avila in the morning. It’s late. 🙂


        • Well, I was taken Lefty as noting that Upton’s now going to a pitcher/D friendly park … which would fit Heyward’s skill set better….

          And, B-ref notes:

          Park Factors Over 100 favors batters, under 100 favors pitchers.
          multi-year: Batting – 98, Pitching – 98 · one-year: Batting – 94, Pitching – 95


        • Yes, I’m familiar with park factors. Looking at recent data from the page you are referencing, the park seems to play even with a BPF hovering around at or above 100 for the past decade? It’s late; I may be reading it wrong.


          I’d be more concerned with him patrolling that outfield than his ability to hit there. Defense is not much of a worry in your average fantasy league, although mine does account for some.


        • I think we’re maybe on the same page … it shades plus defensively, and plus pitching, yes. That’s why I think a Heyward would have been better. Like you, I think the defense is going to be an issue.

          That’s why, even with different opt-out timing, I would have gotten Heyward for $1M a year more. He’d cover that OF a lot better.

          Plus, as for the cap hit, 2016 is the last year of the current $189 million. So, per Hist’s comment, that’s kind of a moot point as an argument against Heyward for the Tigers anyway.


      • Um, Tigers didn’t chase Heyward because 2 years/$50M — and 3 before he opts out. All y’all who signed more than one guy for over $100M this offseason raise your hands.


        • It’s the AAV, not total years,, that’s at stake, and per cap issues, until and unless a person actually opts out, the whole amount of the contract is what counts toward cap value. On total $$$, Upton as well as Heyward is over $1ooM.

          Plus, you’re assuming Upton actually will opt out. I’m not.


      • You two seem to disremember Heyward had higher offers but wanted to play for the Chicago Cubs. He would have cost more going elsewhere – really stupid money. In a vacuum, Heyward > Upton and should be paid accordingly, but that is not what happened (by Heyward’s choice). Besides, if Heyward didn’t want to be stuck with an aging team in St. Louis, why would he go to Detroit?


        • Heyward apparently ONLY got the opt-out from the Cubs. I know he didn’t get one from the Cards, by the silence of St. Louis sports media, while reporting the total $$ value of the Cards’ offer.


      • I am more and more averse to the pure efficiency interpretation of contracts and viewing them all (or any of them, really) through a mythical $/WAR framework…which has always seems highly artificial and strained to me.

        1 WAR is not worth the same thing to all teams.

        Teams don’t pay for players based on WAR…they pay based on marginal gains. If you are projected to have -1 fWAR in LF and sign a guy projected to put up 3 fWAR, that is a 4 fWAR gain, not 3…and if you are only upgrading from 2 fWAR to 3fWAR and pushing an average player to the bench, you are only paying for a 1 fWAR upgrade.

        Plus, for some teams, money just doesn’t matter (e.g. Dodgers, Yankees, RS, Tigers) and for some it matters a lot (Pirates, KC, Rays, Twins). The goal is not to construct Win “The Most Efficient Roster Construction Award”…the goal is to win games and Championships…this is why I am pissed that the Cardinals continue to not throw around alleged payroll muscle but instead search for efficient uses of money. Fuck efficiency, win games.

        In this case, the owner has already said he doesn’t care about the money. He don’t care about paying the luxury tax. He’s 86 and wants wins more than money. So, whatever they paid for the age 28-33 seasons of Upton can’t be judged an “overpay” within any context, really. The only possible negative is if he becomes an financial albatross…and that simply isn’t likely to happen during the life of this deal. There is probably even a better than break even chance that he’ll opt out in 2 years…..making this a potentially great 2-yr deal for the Tigers.

        I agree that if the Tigers were in on Cepedes/Upton, they should have been in on Heyward as well….but perhaps they just weren’t to that point when Heyward’s deal was getting done. Also, Heywards deal is really $78M for 3 years with a 5 year $106M player option (yeah, there is another opt out in there, I’m too lazy to look that up).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heyward signed for the highest AAV. No other team offered him a contract as valuable as the Cubs did…the two opt outs have huge value and he’ll make $26M per if he opts out after 3 years….according to reports, no one else offered more than $20M/year as the higher total value deals were for more years without such an early opt out.

        Heyward may have chosen the Cubs even if offered similar deals, but he didn’t give away money. Given the time value of money, and the value of being a FA again at 29, he took what was easily the most valuable offer.


    • I’ve had Upton (and Kershaw) in my main keeper league since 2008. I remember when I used to have vain hopes he would become a 30-30 guy, but even though that never come to fruition, he’s still been pretty damn valuable in that time.

      My team name has always been some kind of reference to Sealab2021, because that’s some unending hilarity. I only change my team name if I don’t win the championship that year, and since I won in ’14 and ’15, this will be the third straight year of 40-Watt Womb.


      • Oh, the Claw. I covet the Claw. I owned him in that league in 2013. Sadly, not a keeper league, even though I’m not in it any more.

        I play in a keeper league now. I inherited a not so great team although it did pretty good last year with a lot of maneuvering. I’m trying to rebuild it. Lots of prospect info. I played two leagues last year, which was very distracting. It’s hard to do and stay employed. Patients are very needy.

        Cool name.


      • I just drafted my first keeper team ever. It’s the most basic league possible. Two years with up to ten keepers. There’s also a bonus for the top combined two year score. Nice format for a guy like me who has always stuck strictly to redraft leagues.


    • Why would Cespedes be better? They’re roughly as good on the field, but Upton’s done it over twice the timeframe and is two years younger.


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