The Los Angeles Angels think they have a shot to grab one of the AL wild-card spots and they’re betting Justin Upton can help get them there.
The Angels have struck a deal with the Detroit Tigers to acquire Upton, a 30-year-old outfielder who is a four-time All-Star and would bolster the Anaheim outside alongside Mike Trout. Upton has 28 homers and 94 RBIs this season while hitting .279/.362/.542. Thursday is the final day that MLB teams can complete waiver trades and have the players available to play in the postseason.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was first to report the deal was close. Jon Morosi from MLB Network said the teams were in agreement. The Angels later announced the trade was official.
— Angels (@Angels) August 31, 2017
Upton doesn’t just help the Angels’ playoff push immediately (they’re a game out of the second wild card entering play Thursday). He’s young enough and potentially under control until 2022, so he *could* sit alongside Trout in the lineup for years to come. The caveat: Upton has the ability to opt out of his contract after this season. If you were to stay with Anaheim, it would be costly for the Angels. He’s still owed $88.5 million over the next four seasons.
Still, it’s an obvious need for the Angels. As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes, Angels left fielders have hit a combined 27 homers since the start of the 2015 season. Upton’s 162-game average is 28.
While this is mostly a salary dump for the rebuilding Tigers, they are getting back Grayson Long, a 23-year-old right-hander who was 8-8 with a 2.69 ERA between Single-A and Double-A this season. The Tigers will also get a player to be named later from the Angels.
In a related move, the Angels then traded outfielder Cameron Maybin — who has played 45 games in left field this year and is hitting .235 — to the Houston Astros. He would have been displaced by Upton joining the Angels.
This might not be all we see from the Tigers either. Ahead of the midnight ET deadline to complete trades, Morosi is reporting the Tigers still could move Justin Verlander, Alex Wilson and Shane Greene. Verlander, who is owed $28 million the next two seasons and has a $22 million vesting option for 2020, could help a few contenders.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – –