Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers
Six Years, $132.75 million
Ability to opt-out after the 2017 season
Upton was seen by some as a candidate for a short-term “pillow” contract. He entered this offseason on the heels of one of the worst seasons of his career. Upton also dealt with injuries and questions regarding his on-field demeanor after his lone season in San Diego. Instead, Mike Ilitch decided he really did want to spend a lot of money this offseason in an attempt to capitalize on the final peak years of Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.
For at least the next two years, Upton will hit in what could be the best in baseball. Cabrera and J.D. Martinez will take some of the pressure off of Upton’s shoulders. After nine years in the league, it has been established that Upton is not the type of player who can be counted on to carry a team by himself. With the Tigers, he becomes the third-most important run producer on a stacked lineup. With some of the pressure gone, Upton should put up better numbers. As with many of the contracts handed out this offseason, Upton has an opt-out clause which will allow him to re-enter free agency before his age-30 season.