Los Angeles acquires All-Star outfielder from Detroit Tigers to bolster run at wild-card berth.
USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Angels, the team that time forgot, are doing everything in their power to make sure baseball’s best player returns to the national stage.
And, on Thursday, they found the perfect dance partner to make it happen.
The Angels acquired power-hitting outfielder Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers Thursday, picking up not only $2.7 million of his remaining salary this year, but the entire $88.5 million owed to him for the next four seasons.
Just like that, we’re about to see Mike Trout in the playoffs once again, where he last appeared three years ago, on the wrong end of a three-game sweep.
And we won’t see the Tigers in the postseason for years as they go into a long hibernation.
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Certainly, nothing is guaranteed. It’s not as if Upton’s carry-on bag will hold ace Justin Verlander. Still, this is now a scary lineup with two-time MVP Trout, three-time MVP Albert Pujols and Upton. The trio have combined for 76 homers and 238 RBI this year, even with Trout having played only 87 games after being sidelined with a broken hand.
Upton, who signed a six-year, $132.75 million free-agent contract two years ago with the Tigers, is having the finest season of his career. He’s hitting .279 with 28 homers, 94 RBI and a .904 OPS, with 51 homers since last July 1.
How big of an upgrade is this for the Angels? Upton hit 11 homers with a .997 OPS in August, while the Angels’ left fielders have hit a major-league low seven homers and a .656 OPS all season. Upton actually has more homers this year than the Angels’ left fielder has hit the last three seasons.
This is an absolute coup for the Angels, who gave up only pitcher Grayson Long, their ninth-rated prospect, and let the Houston Astros grab struggling outfielder Cameron Maybin on a waiver claim.
This is a team that has stunned everyone by even being in the wild-card race, with a battered rotation and an offense that ranks last in OPS. Now, owner Arte Moreno and GM Billy Eppler have…