Shortly after Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Detroit Tigers were “in discussions” with free agent Justin Upton, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Upton will be signing with the team:
sources: upton will be getting long-term deal from tigers
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 19, 2016
Rosenthal also adds that the deal will go six years. The move comes after virtually no discussion about Upton’s free agent destination throughout the previous months of the offseason.
Signing Upton would represent the second large free agent signing made by the Tigers this offseason, after the team finished last place in the AL Central in 2015. Detroit also signed former Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman back in November, on a five-year, $110 million deal. Before signing Upton, the Tigers owned the fifth-highest 2016 payroll in the majors, with this deal all but certain to lift them above the fourth-place San Francisco Giants.
Upton, who is 28 years old, is one of the youngest free agents in recent memory because he debuted with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 at just age 19.
The San Diego Padres, who traded for Upton before the 2015 season, will receive a compensatory draft pick, as the team extended a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer to Upton at the outset of his free agency.