Bill Baer

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Report: Angels acquire Justin Upton from Tigers

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Angels have acquired outfielder Justin Upton from the Tigers  in exchange for pitcher Grayson Long and cash or a player to be named later.

Upton, 30, is hitting .279/.362/.542 with 28 home runs and 94 RBI in 520 plate appearances this season. He’s under contract through 2021, earning $22.125 million per season.

The Angels  are only one game behind the Twins for the second AL Wild Card slot and two games behind the Yankees for the first, so adding Upton will certainly help them be competitive down the stretch.

Long, 23, posted a combined 2.69 ERA with a 125/42 K/BB ratio in 133 2/3 innings between High-A Inland Empire and Double-A Mobile this season in the Angels’ minor league system.

Video: Ryan Howard hits a walk-off home run for the Albuquerque Isotopes

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Ryan Howard showed on Wednesday that he still has a little bit left in the tank. Now playing for the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque, the 37-year-old drilled a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning in the first game of a doubleheader against the Reno Aces.

Howard inked a minor league deal with the Rockies earlier this month, several months after being released by the Braves. In 12 games with the Isotopes, Howard is hitting .222/.211/.500 with two home runs and seven RBI across 38 plate appearances.

Unsurprisingly, a bunch of teams had representatives watching Shohei Otani

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About half of the league had representatives on hand to watch Shohei Otani pitch for the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan Pacific League on Thursday, the Kyodo News reports. Yankees GM Brian Cashman was among the reps scouting Otani. Others, according to Ken Rosenthal, included the Diamondbacks, Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Reds, Indians, Dodgers, Pirates, Mariners, Rangers, Blue Jays, and Nationals, as well as the Padres and Rays.

Otani went 3 1/3 innings, yielding four runs on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts. It’s only his second start of the season, as he has been battling some injuries. Known for being a two-way player, Otani is hitting .342/.402/.548 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 164 plate appearances on the season.

Jon Morosi reports that those within the industry have “increasing confidence” that Otani will play in Major League Baseball next year. Of course, he’ll be subject to the league’s international spending limit. Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish headline an otherwise underwhelming group of free agent starters, which will likely help increase interest in Otani.