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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.

 

Mookie Betts, Javier Baez leading off the All-Star lineups

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I can’t imagine what it’s like to fill out the lineup card for an All-Star team. Most of the guys are 1-4 hitters on their own teams, but you gotta slot most of them someplace lower. Egos are probably a consideration. Strategic stuff. “Which top of the order or middle of the lineup hitter is batting eighth?” is both a difficult and thankless question.

Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch have to do it anyway, and today they released the All-Star lineups. Seeing Bryce Harper batting sixth and Manny Machado batting seventh is just not part of the usual baseball experience:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Mike Trout, CF
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Jose Ramirez, 3B
6. Aaron Judge, LF
7. Manny Machado, SS
8. Jose Abreu, 1B
9. Salvador Perez, C

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1. Javier Baez, 2B
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, DH
4. Freddie Freeman, 1B
5. Matt Kemp, LF
6. Bryce Harper, CF
7. Nick Markakis, RF
8. Brandon Crawford, SS
9. Willson Contreras, C

Not that this is gonna hold for long what with all of the substitutions.