The last day of August has brought the biggest move of the month. With the waiver trade deadline just hours away, the Angels acquired All-Star leftfielder Justin Upton from the Tigers for minor league pitcher Grayson Long and a player to be named later, according to both teams (and first reported by MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal). Amid one of the best seasons of his 11-year career, the 30-year-old Upton represents a major push on the part of Los Angeles to claim a wild-card spot and its first trip to the postseason since 2014.
Upton has quietly mashed this season in the middle of Detroit’s sagging lineup, leading the team in home runs (28), RBIs (94), on-base percentage (.362), slugging percentage (.542) and OPS+ (136). His team-best 5.0 WAR, meanwhile, is more than double that of second-place Jose Iglesias (though the fact that Iglesias is No. 2 on the Tigers in that stat says a lot about how poorly their season has gone). Offensively, it’s been Upton’s best showing since his final season in Atlanta in 2014, and overall, it’s the most value he’s produced since his second All-Star campaign in Arizona back in ’11.
Despite Upton’s strong year, it’s been a dismal one in Detroit, owing to an aging lineup that can’t hit and a rotation that has no depth beyond Michael Fulmer and Justin Verlander. The Tigers already waved the white flag on the season back in July, dealing away rightfielder J.D. Martinez (to the Diamondbacks) and closer Justin Wilson (to the Cubs), but were seemingly content to stop…Read More