After staying out market for baseball’s marquee players in the past few years, the Angels dove back in with a deal for Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton on Thursday.
The Angels also let Cameron Maybin go to the Houston Astros via a waiver claim, moving a player who was expendable with the acquisition of Upton to play left field.
Both deals came on the final day that teams can acquire players to be eligible for this postseason.
The Angels are sending the Tigers right-handed pitcher Grayson Long, who had been one of their most improved prospects this season. They will also add a minor league player to be named. The Tigers will send the Angels some cash to cover some of the $3.7 million Upton is due for the rest of this season.
The Angels are filling their troublesome left field spot with a player enjoying one of his best seasons. Upton, who just turned 30, is hitting .279 with 28 homers, 94 RBI and a .904 OPS.
Upton signed a six-year, $132.75 million deal before the 2016 season. The deal, however, includes an opt-out, allowing Upton to become a free agent at the end of this season.
He will have four years and $88.5 million due on the deal at the end of this season, which is around what his market value could be as a free agent. It’s not a certainty either way about what decision he would make.
If he sticks around, the Angels would have already completed the bulk of their offseason shopping. If Upton leaves, then the Angels still have the same money to spend in the winter that they had before the deal.
The Angels also save $1.5 million from their 2017 payroll by having the Astros take on the remainder of Maybin’s $9 million salary.
Long, 23, was the Angels’ third-round pick in 2015. He posted a 2.69 ERA in 26 starts this season, with 125 strikeouts in 133 2/3 innings. He started at Class-A Inland Empire, but then moved to Double-A after three starts.
He was rated the No. 9 prospect in the organization by MLB.com.
More to come on this story.