Justin Upton saw potential for cold free agent market coming before staying with Angels

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error J.D. Martinez, a player often compared to Upton, is still a free agent, having repeatedly turned down a five-year, $125 million offer from the Boston Red Sox.For Upton, the decision to stay with the Angels was not just about money, but about a comfort he found in the month he spent with the team after they acquired him from the Tigers on Aug. 31.“I enjoyed the vibe of the clubhouse, how much fun the guys have playing the game,” Upton said. “That’s what you want to be part of. You want to be in the clubhouse, on the field, with these guys every day.”The Angels certainly appreciated having Upton too. He hit seven homers with an .887 OPS in 27 games with them, completing a season in which he hit 35 homers with a .901 OPS.He had four years and $88.5 million left on his deal, when he could have opted out. In exchange for staying, the Angels added a year and $17.5 million. Upton also restructured his deal to reduce his salary by about $5 million in 2018, which allowed the Angels to make other moves. TEMPE, Ariz. — Justin Upton sat on the verge of entering the free agent market before opting to stay with the Angels.The decision looks pretty good now.Upton, who agreed to a five-year, $106 million extension days before he could have opted out in November, remembered that it took him until late January to get a deal with the Detroit Tigers two winters ago.“I kind of got a little taste of it two years ago when I was a free agent,” he said shortly after arriving at camp on Saturday. “I kind of understood the way the trend was going. At the end of the day, if you can avoid it, avoid it, because things are definitely changing.”center_img Now, with additions like Shohei Ohtani, Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart, Upton believes the Angels are primed to make a run at the postseason.“On paper, obviously were a better team,” Upton said. “We still have to go out and play the games. As far as the way we look now, I think we have a really good ballclub that can contend.”Upton said he’s eager to see if Ohtani can pull off the trick of pitching and hitting.“I go out and long toss and I’m sore,” Upton said. “I can’t imagine pitching and playing the field.”last_img

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