3:12pm: Upton will sign with the Giants, Feinsand reports (Twitter links). Upton’s deal will be of the minor-league variety, and he will report to Triple-A Sacramento. He is a client of Reynolds Sports Management.
As noted below, the Giants can use extra outfield depth, and Upton could conceivably play left field against lefties, pairing with Jarrett Parker. As Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets, the Giants until recently did not seem to have interest in Upton. Parker and the Giants’ other left fielders have started the season poorly, though, with Parker going 0-for-10 with six strikeouts. The Giants’ change of heart might have had something to do with those struggles.
The Giants also have Mac Williamson for the sort of role Upton might eventually occupy, although Williamson is currently on the DL with a quad injury. Another potential option, Michael Morse, is also currently hurt. The Giants also recently signed another veteran, Drew Stubbs, to bolster their supply of outfielders. The Giants had also been connected to free agent Angel Pagan, who of course is no stranger to the organization; Upton’s signing perhaps makes a reunion less likely.
2:50pm: Free agent outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. is likely to sign with a National League team today, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets. The Blue Jays released Upton last week after telling him he wouldn’t make their club out of Spring Training.
The identity of the signing team isn’t currently known. Speculatively, the Giants could use a bit of extra depth, and the right-handed Upton could be a fit, with left-handed Jarrett Parker in left field. If Upton and the Braves might have interest in a reunion, that club has been known to have interest in bench help, and they have left-handed Nick Markakis in right. The Padres have a very young outfield and presumably have memories of Upton’s previous tenure there; they might see him as a stabilizing presence. Upton might also be a decent short-term fit in Colorado, where lefty Gerardo Parra is playing left while David Dahl nurses a rib injury.
Of course, Upton could also potentially sign a minor-league deal elsewhere and wait for an opportunity. But he might be able to find a situation where he can play right away, or close to it. He hit poorly down the stretch last year with the Blue Jays, but as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe pointed out earlier today, Upton previously having revived his career in San Diego might convince interested teams to gamble on his upside. He seems likely to generate more interest than the typical minor-league free agent. The Padres are also paying the bulk of his remaining salary, so interested teams won’t have to worry much about his cost.