Justin Upton reaction: Ilitch's ethos drives Tigers
Reaction to free-agent outfielder Justin Upton and the Tigers agreeing on a six-year, $132.75 million contract on Monday night:
Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports: "Of all the figures that tend to define Mike Ilitch – 86 years old and $5.4 billion net worth being the two most prominent – the one that matters most is zero. That is the number of championships he has won as Tigers owner and the number of damns he gives trying to change it. ... No matter how little Ilitch may be involved in the day-to-day operations of the Tigers, his ethos resonates throughout the organization and drives their every move. He lives the rhetorical question all fans wish their owner would."
Rob Rogacki, Bless You Boys: "Upton is right-handed, leaving the Tigers with an almost entirely right-handed lineup. Opt-out clauses place all of the risk on the team offering the contract, and $132 million is a lot of money. Free agents don't age well (Upton is 28), especially those reliant on power like Upton. This move had to happen, though. The Maybin/Gose/Collins left field conglomerate required the rosiest of glasses (or fullest of drink glasses) to accept, even as visions of diving catches danced in our heads. None of the three incumbents projects to be an average offensive player, and each has a significant weakness or two that will likely materialize with enough playing time."
Mike Axisa, CBS Sports: "Upton could get an even bigger deal in two years. Upton won't turn 29 until late August. He'll be a little over 30 when his opt-out clause kicks in, which is still young enough to secure a monster contract. (Yoenis) Cespedes is 30 right now, for example, and he's headed for a huge contract. Alex Gordon is 32 and he signed for $72 million a few weeks back. Two more typical Justin Upton years will put him in line for one more big contract in two years."
Jerry Crasnick, ESPN: "Upton is only 28, and he provides consistent offense in the middle of the order even though he has averaged a hefty 144 strikeouts per year since becoming a regular with Arizona in 2008. Upton ranks eighth among MLB outfielders with 173 home runs and 12th in slugging percentage at .478 (minimum 2,500 plate appearances) during that span."
Bob Nightengale, USA Today: "Justin Upton (six years, $132.75 million) will become the third highest-paid free-agent position player this winter behind only Jason Heyward (eight years, $184 million, Cubs) and Chris Davis (seven years, $161 million, Orioles)."