It was inevitable that the San Diego Padres were going to deal Melvin Upton Jr. before the trade deadline. The only question was where Upton was going to land. It seemed to come down to the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, with the Blue Jays coming out on top. Ken Rosenthal, of FOXSports.com, was the first to report the deal:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2016
As Rosenthal noted, the Padres got a low-level prospect in return for Upton. It appears that the Padres were just aiming to get rid of Upton to clear up some money and open up an outfield spot for the rest of this season and next for their young prospects knocking on the door of the big leagues. The Padres are paying all but $5 million of the $22 million Upton has left on his current deal, according to Jon Heyman.
Heading into the 2016 season, no one believed that the Padres would be able to deal Upton and his current contract. In fact, the Braves dumped Upton, and his contract, onto the Padres as part of a trade that sent Craig Kimbrel from the Braves to the Padres.
Upton, however, has resurrected his career this season. He is currently slashing .256/.304/.439 to go along with 16 home runs and 20 stolen bases, making him one of only two players with at least 15 homers and 20 steals this season. The other? Jose Altuve. Not bad company.
The Blue Jays do not really need more offense, as they rank second in the American League in runs scored. However, they have only stolen 32 bases this season, which is tied for the third-fewest in the AL. Upton will provide them with much-needed speed on the bases and will add to a potent offense. Upton was excited about the move, tweeting out:
— Melvin Upton Jr. (@MelvinUptonJr) July 26, 2016
Whether this deal alone is enough to solidify the Blue Jays as a playoff team remains to be seen.