Seven Free Agent Signings That Will Impact Playoff Races in 2016

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Number 5: Outfielder Justin Upton

Yes, the Tigers signed Jordan Zimmermann and added a top-of-the-rotation starter that the team need desperately.

Yes, the Tigers traded for reliever Francisco Rodriguez to plug a hole in the ninth inning — a role that has stymied this team in the regular season and postseason for some time now.

Both of these deals made the Tigers A.L. Central division contenders because of the question marks that surround every team including the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

However, new President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski accomplished his greatest signing yet four days ago when he inked free agent outfielder Justin Upton to a six-year, $132.75 million dollar deal.

Upton not only makes the Tigers contenders in their own division and in the American League, it makes this team a World Series contender once again. That is something this team couldn’t say last year.

Upton didn’t have his greatest season in 2015, but he was playing the majority of his games in the most friendly pitchers park in baseball: Petco Park in San Diego.

He is moving to a park that is much more favorable to hitters — Comerica Park — and he should be able to re-establish himself as an offensive force.

On a nightly basis pitchers will have to deal with the modern version of the Yankees from the 1930s: a murderers row of intimidating power hitters in Upton, J.D. Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez.

A middle of the order doesn’t get much better than that. This signing puts Detroit back on the map.

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