It's been a long time coming, but we can now officially say that Justin Upton will not be returning to play for the Padres in 2016. The 28-year-old outfielder is getting a well-deserved long-term deal and heading to Detroit.
Several sources reported earlier tonight that Upton was close to a deal with the Tigers that would be in the $125 million range. We now know that Upton has agreed to a six-year deal with Detroit worth $132.75 million, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.
While it wasn't a surprise that Upton, who became a free agent this offseason, was able to get such a great deal, it was a little surprising that the Tigers were the team to get it done. It didn't seem like they had it in them to sign another big free agent this offseason after already signing Jordan Zimmermann to five years and $110 million at the end of November, but they had a change of heart this last week and have been aggressively pursuing Upton throughout the weekend, culminating in tonight's announcement.
Upton's contract, which becomes really official only after he passes a physical with the team, also includes the option to opt out after two seasons. He becomes the third-highest-paid free-agent position player of the 2014-2015 offseason, only surpassed by Jason Heyward and Chris Davis.
And while Padres fans will be sad to see Upton go after just one season, we do get something out of the deal. Upton declined San Diego's qualifying offer in November to become a free agent while making it clear to any interested teams that he wouldn't accept anything less than a long-term offer. Since he signed with the Tigers, they give up their second overall pick and the Padres gain yet another compensatory in the 2016 Draft. That gives them a total of six out of the top 100 picks in the Draft this year.
There's no doubt that having Upton in San Diego was fun, but Padres fans shouldn't be surprised that his time here was short. There were several times in 2015 where we were sure Upton was going to be traded, whether it was because of a legitimate rumor or just him messing with our heads.
Still, I'll miss Upton Funk.