Two Detroit Tigers players are featured in the top 10 of MLB Trade Rumors’ 2017-18 MLB Free Agent Power Rankings.
Two Detroit Tigers players could shape the free agent offseason next offseason according to a list generated by MLB Trade Rumors. The baseball transaction website came out with a power ranking of the best ten players who could hit the free agent market next offsesaon. Outfielders J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton made the list at numbers six and eight respectively.
Martinez was the subject of much trade chatter this offseason, but the Tigers ultimately decided to keep their core intact and make another run at the postseason. Here’s how the crew at MLB Trade Rumors pegs Martinez’s value (read the post for their entire writeup on him).
"Martinez is a candidate for a five-year deal worth $100MM or more. Since 2014, he’s been one of the dozen best hitters in baseball, on par with Edwin Encarnacion and Freddie Freeman."
With a major rebuild looming on the horizon — and an apparent mandate to rein spending — the Tigers seem unlikely to give Martinez a long-term extension. He figures to be a valuable trade chip this summer if the club falls out of the race. If they hang onto him for the full season, they’ll extend a qualifying offer (which he’ll reject) and collect draft pick compensation when he signs elsewhere.
Upton’s situation is unique because he has a player option that he can trigger. Here are a few snippets from his writeup that talk about his current contract and one he might be able to land with a monster season.
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"To even reach free agency, he’d have to opt out of the remaining four years and $88MM on his contract with the Tigers…Upton might be able to land a new five-year deal in excess of $100MM with a big season. The safe move is to stick with his Tigers contract, though."
As the writeup indicates, an opt-out for Upton wouldn’t be about increasing the average annual value of his contract but rather guarantee him (something like) $10-15 million for his age 34 season down the road.
The Tigers would love nothing more than to have Upton opt out of his deal. For one it would mean something close to a career year for Upton which would mean good things for a franchise trying to make one last push for a World Series. Secondly, it would mean over $20 million per year coming off the books in future years as they try to reshape their roster with younger talent.
Both Upton and Martinez will be 30 years old next offseason. That still leaves a couple of years of prime-level production but a long-term contract would certainly take them well into the decline phase of their respective careers.