8:07pm: The Giants are content with their current outfielders, meaning they’re not inclined to go after Upton, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. However, Schulman doesn’t rule out a trade, noting it could come down to the caliber of prospect the Jays are seeking for Upton (Twitter links).
6:25pm: The Tigers won’t pursue Upton, either, adds Heyman (on Twitter).
6:07pm: The Orioles are “not a fit” for Upton, Heyman hears (Twitter link).
5:40pm: Outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. won’t make the Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Jays are listening to offers for Upton, tweets FanRag’s Jon Heyman, who lists the Tigers, Orioles, Rays and Giants as sensible fits.
Toronto hasn’t finalized its roster yet, though the last spot was reportedly down to Upton and out-of-options infielder Ryan Goins as of Tuesday. Notably, the Blue Jays signed utilityman Chris Coghlan to a minor league deal Saturday, so it’s possible he could factor into the mix.
The Blue Jays can’t option Upton to the minors without his consent. As such, whether via trade or release, it appears the 32-year-old’s short tenure with the organization is about to end. Upton joined the club prior to last July in a deal with the Padres, who ate all but $5MM of the remaining $22MM on his contract and acquired right-hander Hansel Rodriguez in return.
Upton is due $16.45MM this season, which will conclude the five-year, $75.5MM deal he signed with the Braves in 2012, and the right-handed-hitter seemed likely to spend the campaign as a platoon left fielder in Toronto with the lefty-swinging Ezequiel Carrera. But, statistically speaking, Upton made a poor impression down the stretch last year in Toronto, where he hit just .196/.261/.318 in 165 post-trade plate appearances. He followed that up with another weak line, .194/.216/.472, in 36 spring at-bats.
While Upton hasn’t performed well in Toronto, the once-valuable Ray revived his career to an extent in San Diego over the prior year and a half. Upton hit a decent .257/.313/.435 with 21 home runs and 29 steals in 602 plate appearances with the Padres, and he combined for nine Defensive Runs Saved and a 2.9 Ultimate Zone Rating in the field. Someone could take a flier on him, then, including the teams Heyman mentioned. Detroit’s only proven outfielders are Melvin’s brother, Justin Upton, and the injured J.D. Martinez; Baltimore tried to acquire Melvin Upton last summer; Tampa Bay, where Upton played from 2007-12, has been looking for outfield help (though the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin tweets the team won’t trade for Upton); and he could conceivably platoon in San Francisco with lefty-hitting left fielder Jarrett Parker.