Justin Upton

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Justin Upton likely to opt-out, become a free agent

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that “it’s increasingly likely” Justin Upton will exercise the opt-out clause in his contract and test free agency.

Upton posted career-highs in home runs (35), RBI (109), and OPS (.901) this season between the Tigers and Angels, batting .273/.361/.540. He has four years and $88.5 million remaining on his contract, so by saying goodbye to the Angels, he’s banking on doing better than that on the market. Last year the biggest free agent deals for hitters went to Yoenis Cespedes at four years, $110 million, Dexter Fowler at five years and $82.5 million, Ian Desmond at five years and $70 million, Justin Turner at four years, $64 million and Edwin Encarnacion at three years and $60 million.

The other big free agent bats with whom Upton will be competing will be fellow former Tiger J.D. Martinez and soon-to-be-ex-Royals Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. Hosmer will be 28 next season, Moustakas is 29 and Martinez and Upton are both 30. Neither Upton nor Martinez will be subject to qualifying offers given that they were traded mid-season. It remains to be seen if the Royals will put qualifying offers on their departing free agents, thereby limiting their market, but at least Hosmer should get one and possibly both of them will.