The Los Angeles Angels made a significant upgrade to their outfield on Thursday.
The Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers are in agreement to send All-Star outfielder Justin Upton from the Motor City to southern California. (If you didn’t know, yes, you can make trades after July 31.) According to New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the Angels will send RHP Grayson Long and either cash or a player to be named later to Detroit.
The Angels are currently only a game behind the Minnesota Twins for the second wild card spot in the American League. Upton may be the guy to get them over the hump and into the playoffs.
Angels left fielders have the lowest OPS (.656) and the fewest home runs (7) in baseball. Upton currently has 28 home runs and a .904 OPS so he’s a huge upgrade for Los Angeles.
The Tigers tried to sell off their big contracts before the trade deadline, but couldn’t because let’s face it, they have older guys that make way too much money. Add Upton’s opt-out clause and teams valuing pitching over hitting and it’s obvious why it was hard to move him.
Upton determined he was leaning towards opting out of his contract at the end of the season, and the Angels were more than happy to take on the remaining amount he’s owed this season.
The Angels have been teetering between rebuilding and continuing to try and win. They finally get Josh Hamilton’s massive contract off their books after this season, and should Upton have a change of heart and opt-in to the remaining four years of his deal his $88.5 million would essentially replace Hamilton’s. The only difference would be Upton is actually healthy and producing.
The Angels made this trade just before the Sept. 1st deadline so should the Angels make their way into the playoffs Upton will be eligible to play.