The Diamondbacks have “considered” a reunion with Justin Upton, The New York Post’s Jon Heyman writes, though it isn’t yet clear what the 34-year-old outfielder is himself planning for his next step. Upton has given some thought to retiring altogether after the Angels released the veteran last week.
If Upton does continue his career, a return to the D’Backs would represent a nice full-circle moment. Arizona selected Upton with the first overall pick of the 2005 draft, and Upton spent his first six Major League seasons with the Diamondbacks. That tenure included two All-Star appearances for Upton and arguably the finest year of his entire career, as he hit .289/.369/.529 with 31 home runs in 2011 and finished fourth in NL MVP voting.
Upton has been roughly a replacement-level player over his last three seasons with the Angels, but since signing him would cost the Diamondbacks only a prorated minimum salary, it might be a worthwhile flier for a team that has gotten off to a brutal start at the plate. The right-handed hitting Upton represents some lineup balance since many of Arizona’s top outfield choices (David Peralta, Daulton Varsho, Pavin Smith, Jake McCarthy) are all left-handed, plus DH Seth Beer is also a lefty bat.
More from around the NL West…
- Kyle Freeland’s arbitration hearing is set for May 24, and Freeland tells The Athletic’s Nick Groke that the Rockies hasn’t yet discussed a long-term extension. The left-hander is scheduled to reach free agency after the 2023 season, and while Freeland has battled his share of injuries and inconsistency, he has been a generally solid pitcher over his five-plus MLB seasons — a career 4.28 ERA and 48.7% grounder rate over 663 innings, all with Colorado. Rockies GM Bill Schmidt sounded open to the idea of eventually discussing an extension, saying “Nothing’s out of the question but we need to see what happens. We love [Freeland] and we hope he’s here for a long time.”
- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts updated reporters (including MLB.com’s Juan Toribio) on the health status of some injured pitchers. Tommy Kahnle may be the closest to a return, as after missing the entire 2021 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Kahnle is on a rehab assignment in the minors and might be able to join the Dodgers before the end of April. Caleb Ferguson is also recovering from TJ surgery and is tentatively slated for a return in the middle of May, as Ferguson had some elbow soreness during Spring Training. Victor Gonzalez developed inflammation in his throwing elbow at the end of spring camp and has a tentative recovery timetable of 3-4 weeks.