It was just a matter of time before free agent outfielder Justin Upton found a home. It's just not the home many thought it would be. Here is more from MLB Network's Jon Heyman:
justin upton is close to a deal with the tigers— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 19, 2016
You can always tell who the real Jon Heyman is on Twitter as he never capitalizes anything.
Many felt that Yoenis Cespedes would be a good fit for the Tigers, since, well, he has played there before, and they need an outfielder who can hit in the middle of the order. Upton can fit that role as well.
Terms of the deal have not been reported yet, but Heyman also tweeted the following:
sources: upton will be getting long-term deal from tigers— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 19, 2016
Not a surprise, since Upton is the younger of the two top free agent outfielders remaining on the free agent market. Cespedes is two years older than Upton, so some in the industry felt that he is asking for too much this offseason and may have to settle for a one year deal. I doubt that happens at this point.
FoxSports Ken Rosenthal has the term of the deal:
Sources: #Tigers close to six-year deal with free-agent outfielder Justin Upton.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 19, 2016
It is being reported that Upton's deal will be in the $125 million range, which seems a little shy of what most had projected at the beginning of the offseason.
The move to Detroit would improve the Tigers lineup, Here is one take on what their lineup will look like with Upton:
Cameron Maybin, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Justin Upton, LF
J.D. Martinez, RF
Victor Martinez, DH
Nick Castellanos, 3B
James McCann, C
Jose Iglesias, SS
The Tigers are in win-now mode once again, as their windows to win is getting shorter and shorter with Miggy, Kindler, VMart and Justin Verlander all in their 30's.
The move to Comerica Park may impact Upton's power to the downside a bit, which sounds weird considering he is coming from Petco Park, but Petco was more home run friendly for right handed hitters than Comerica Park was last season. Upton is a very streaky hitter, so I can see him moving up and down the lineup a bit, hitting clean up when he is on fire, and hitting lower when he is not, which happens frequently.
Comerica Park (94) reduced home runs to right handed hitters by 6% in 2015, while Petco Park played at league average (100), according to Stat Corner. How the new park impacts Upton's power numbers in 2016 remains to be seen, but I may move him down a few spots in my updated Top 75 Outfielder rankings which drop tomorrow morning at 7am.
Update on terms of the deal:
Upton six-year deal with #Tigers includes opt-out (not sure after which year). Six years, $132.75M, per @BNightengale.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 19, 2016