Blowing the budget on a one-year deal for outfielder Justin Upton would have made sense for the Detroit Tigers.
With Yoenis Cespedes still sitting on the market and Alex Gordon electing to stay with the Kansas City Royals on a team-friendly contract, there was some thought that perhaps Upton would be better off taking the single year and hitting the free agent market next year where he wouldn’t necessarily be overshadowed by Jason Heyward and muddled together with Gordon and Cespedes.
Local media members — like Tony Paul of the Detroit News — have maintained that the Detroit Tigers aren’t pursuing big name outfielders, but there was perhaps one caveat. The Tigers don’t want another large-dollar, long-term contract on the books, but they might consider ponying up big for a year or two.
The Tigers appear willing to go well over the luxury tax to sign an impact player, but they don’t want to set themselves up to be over that for the next several years. One or two seasons is one thing — while Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander perhaps can still resemble their peak selves — but a decade of luxury tax isn’t what they want. That’s especially true if they’ll have to transition to rebuild mode at some point.
Unfortunately, Friday evening brought those rumors to an end as Upton’s agent clarified that his client is indeed still focusing on long-term contracts. ESPN reported the agent’s statement.
"“We are not considering shorter term deals at this time,” Reynolds said in a statement. “The goal has been and will continue to be a long term contract for Justin Upton.”"
For now it seems the Tigers are content to sit back and perhaps add a small piece or two, but probably not make a big splash.
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The Detroit Tigers’ roster appears to be more or less set unless something crazy happens in the outfield market. Chances of Cespedes or Upton landing with the team appear to be very, very low.