The Angels anticipate that outfielder Justin Upton will miss eight to twelve weeks of action, manage Brad Ausmus told reporters including MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter link). He had previously been diagnosed with a turf toe injury that turned out to be quite a bit more problematic than had been anticipated.
It’s rather poor news for the Halos, who already faced a tough road to the postseason this year. Upton and Shohei Ohtani supplemented Mike Trout last year in the middle of the lineup. Now both Upton and Ohtani are on the shelf; though the latter is making progress toward a return, it’ll still be at least a few more weeks before he’s back.
Upton slashed .257/.344/.463 last year, with thirty long balls in his 613 plate appearances. That’s actually a step back from his big 2017 campaign. Over a dozen years in the bigs, Upton carries a .268/.348/.478 batting line — just what he put up last year and just what might reasonably have been expected in 2019.
There’s simply no way the Angels will be able to replace that sort of productivity. The light-hitting Peter Bourjos had been on track to serve as a fourth outfielder after signing a minors deal. Instead he’ll platoon with Brian Goodwin, who was just picked up after being cut loose by the Royals.
That pair will hold down the fort for the time being. The front office could look for creative opportunities to upgrade, but it’s hard to imagine any particularly appealing names coming available. GM Billy Eppler all but snuffed out that possibility, saying he didn’t think an outside addition would take place. (Also via Bollinger, on Twitter.)
Neither does it seem the team can hope for much help from within. The depth options on hand were deemed inferior to Bourjos and Goodwin already. And there aren’t any particularly exciting upper-level prospects. Unfortunately, the club’s most talented pre-MLB player, Jo Adell, was slowed this spring with injuries to his ankle and hamstring that figure to keep him on ice until the summer. Even if the club was willing to consider an aggressive promotion timeline, he’ll need to get back to full strength first.