TODAY: Upton’s deal contains a 10-team no-trade clause, Bob Nightengale reports. Upton has had partial or full no-trade protection in all three of his major multi-year contracts (with the D’Backs, Tigers, and Angels), and he’ll retain some measure of control over his future should the Mariners look to flip him before the trade deadline.
MAY 21: The Mariners have signed outfielder Justin Upton to a one-year, Major League contract. The club has officially announced the move, and in a corresponding transaction designated righty Adrian Sampson for assignment to clear roster space. Upton will report to the Mariners’ extended Spring Training camp in order to ramp up for his eventual debut with the team.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link) was the first to announce the Upton signing, and noted that Upton will earn around $550K on the deal, or the prorated portion of the MLB minimum salary. The M’s will cover the $550K, while the Angels will still owe Upton the remainder of his original $28MM salary for the 2022 season.
The Angels released Upton just before the season began, ending the outfielder’s four-plus year run in Los Angeles. Originally acquired from the Tigers in August 2017, Upton was already under contract through the 2021 season but held an opt-out clause, and agreed to forego that clause when the Halos tacked another year onto his deal. The extension added $17.5MM in new money to Upton’s contract and locked up through the 2022 campaign.
Unfortunately, it was a deal the Angels came to regret, after Upton struggled during the 2019-21 seasons. Due to both injuries and a simple lack of production, Upton has hit .211/.299/.414 with 38 home runs over 784 plate appearances in the last three seasons. Between this lack of hitting and declining glovework in left field, Upton has been almost exactly a replacement-level player, generating only 0.1 fWAR since the start of the 2019 season.
In his prime, of course, Upton was an outstanding player, with a resume that includes four All-Star appearances, 324 career homers, and a .262/.343/.471 slash line over 7592 PA with five different organizations. Selected by the Diamondbacks with the first overall pick of the 2005 draft, Upton is a very familiar face to Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, who worked in Arizona’s front office during Upton’s time with the club.
For the minimal cost, there isn’t much risk for Dipoto and the Mariners in seeing if Upton still has anything left at age 34. With Mitch Haniger on the injured list until around July, Jarred Kelenic demoted to the minors, and Kyle Lewis still working his way back from injury, the M’s have a need for outfield depth. Jesse Winker and rookie phenom Julio Rodriguez have two of the spots spoken for, with Adam Frazier, Dylan Moore, and Steven Souza Jr. all recently seeing starts on the grass since Haniger was lost to the IL.
Sampson was only claimed off waivers from the Cubs earlier this week, and now might be moving on from Seattle without a single appearance in either the minors or majors. The swingman’s 2022 resume thus far consists of a single MLB inning with the Cubs and 19 2/3 innings with Triple-A Iowa. The Washington native did break into the majors with his home state Mariners back in 2016, marking the first of Sampson’s five Major League seasons — the righty has a 5.13 ERA over 189 1/3 innings, with 125 1/3 of those frames coming with the Rangers in 2019.
Who had the pool on the Mariners?
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
I knew some team would eventually snag Upton for the league minimum.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. This is a very Dipoto move. One that will go down as another horrible move, like Toro, Winker, and Ray.
Yeah sign a player for league min for 1 year will destroy any credibility he has. You Angel fans need to let it go. We get it you don’t like him and are upset he is doing so good in Seattle. Find a big deal he has made to prove your point this signing makes you look like a fool. We DFAd Souza to make the signing I am sure we will survive if Upton plays all season in the minors. It is funny to read your foolishness though.
Yeah “Dip”oto is killing it in Seattle alright.. hahaha!
As an Angel fan, I am ecstatic with the job Dipoto is doing in Seattle. Mariners have been tanking for over 20 years. Keep it going Jerry.
You say the toro deal but what’s bad about it? Haven’t kept up with him since I saw him play a few game for the Astros but he didn’t seem to bad during that specific series…
I really don’t think an Angels fan can credibly attack another team for bad personnel decisions. The last I checked, the Angels have yet to win a playoff game in Mike Trout’s career. They were gifted the greatest player in the game and for a decade, they’ve pulled an Amber Heard each offseason. When the Angels win, then you can start taunting other teams for bad GM work.
Pretty ignorant post from a cincy fan, go figure. Talk about clueless. I am talking about the GM responsible for most the bad personnel moves during Mike Trout’s tenure.
When your team ERA is below 6 then you can post again and talk about personnel decisions. Until then get a clue before you post something.
@IndianRye Toro isn’t very good. His OPS is 79. He was traded for Gravemen. I was debating against like Mariners fans this offseason. They told me they couldn’t afford Gravemen. I told them them they just spent $115 million on a starting pitcher that is mediocre most years. I told them Winker was a horrible trade, but they told me that Winker is going to be hitting homers left and right because Seattle’s ballpark is tailor made for Winker. They told me Ray has turned the corner and he is going to be in the running for another Cy Young. It is all just laughable how they ganged up on little ole me and how wrong they all were. I am still waiting for them to pay homage to me.
It just another Dipoto transaction that didn’t pan out. His other move that didn’t make sense was Dee Gordon. The Mariners already had Cano, so Dee couldn’t play 2nd base. In Dipoto’s stroke of genius, he brought in 2nd baseman Dee Gordon to play center-fielder for the Mariners. Luckily for Dipoto, Cano was busted for steroids and Gordon was able to play his natural position. This move would have been extremely embarrassing if not for the steroid ban.
Selah Rick 2
He also traded for Marco,France, Crawford and Frazier. He drafted Gilbert, Kirby and Lewis. You can nitpick Winker all you want. But they have control for multiple years and didn’t give up any of there top prospects to get him. Carry on with your hate. Nobody is listening.
Imagine being one of two things: either so hurt that Dipoto drafted and is developing two top of the rotation arms you guys have never had or ignorant about the future of the club.
Either way, you’re a joke. Your team will either fade or get trounced in the playoffs, then lose all your pitchers because Arte doesn’t want to sign one for more than a year.
News Flash, the Mariners have had way better talent than they have right now. Some of the greatest players of all time were Mariners, Ken Griffery Jr, Edgar Martinez, Ichiro, Randy Johnson, A-Rod, etc. They never did anything. What makes you think your bad lineup, bad rotation, and bad bullpen is going to take you places? Jerry has done quite a job.. LOL.
Imagine being so hurt that you have an inept GM that drove the MVP into the arms of your division rivals. Thank you, Jerry.
20 years of no playoffs. Your team has already faded away. Your team won’t make the playoffs. Stop projecting, we know who the real joke is.
Also no one cares about Marco or Frazier, but France and Crawford are talented. Hopefully they get a chance to play for a major league team one day.
You make some very valid points. I also thought the Gravamen move was not wise. Instead of trading him, I would have shown confidence in him and extended him. He was happy with a team that had already given him a chance to rebound from injury and probably would have extended, given the chance (not to mention he was a real leader in the pen).
Cano is a different story though. Frankly, losing Cano’s contract was the biggest win of that trade. The jury is still out if the players in return pan out. But make no mistake, letting Cano go, along with his contract was a win.
Selah Rick 2
We will talk again when Seattle with a $100 mil payroll, catches and passes whatever that other California team calls itself nowadays with $200 plus payroll. Talk about dreaming! More like a nightmare!
@Angelfan you’ve had Trout for how long? And now you have him and Shohei at the same time. So are you telling us M’s fans that if your guys don’t win the WS this year, you suck? Sounds like it.
LOL Jerry’s Kids are coming at me full bore.
You had Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, A-Roid, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Ichiro for how long? I am sure the Mariners have multiple WS by now.
Jerry has been seen rummaging around the dumpsters at Angel Stadium multiple nights. He finally found a warm body in Upton in the dumpster before scurrying away the other night.. Worry not Mariner’s fans, Jerry has found the savior that is going to turn this club around. Sure, you may have some question marks about the other moves this off season if you were smart, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with these fans.
Angels don’t have a payroll of over 200 million. You are battling it out with Oakland for last place. The As knowingly gave away all their good pieces and have a payroll of $40M.. That is how good Jerry made the team. Jerry is in his 7th year of his “plan” and is on par with a team that did a complete tear down this year. Those are the actual facts. You seem to lack any facts and keep living in denial.
He will inevitably have a 3 game set against the Angels in which he goes 7-12 with 3 HR and robs a would-be Trout dinger but finishes the regular season hitting .176 with a 35% K rate.
He’ll be Seattle’s 6th best hitter then
I never envisioned we would be trotting out Justin Upton after going into the season with Kelenic, Julio, Winker, and Haniger all while knowing Lewis was working his way back, Trammell was waiting, and Souza was in Tacoma for depth. Such a strange season. M’s shouldn’t be this bad.
I never envisioned Kelenic, Julio, Winker, and Haniger all staying healthy and productive all year. People laughed in the preseason when I said we might have an OF depth issue.
Lewis is crushing the ball in AAA but unable to play in the field yet. Only played one game in OF in his rehab stint and reported soreness afterwards.
At least Julio is rounding into form at the plate and exceeding expectations by handling CF nicely.
I’m still laughing ha ha ha !
@Bear I don’t think anyone thought they would play everyday, but it was reasonable to assume that between the 5 you mentioned and a few starts by Moore, it would not be a long shot as it is now.
As an Angel fan I tried to like him for so long. But the constant strikeouts, double plays, and lack of hustle never allowed me to fully like him. Hope he finds success with the Mariners. Unless he’s playing the Angels of course
FredMcGriff for the HOF
Some guys don’t hustle anymore after they get enormous contracts.
They call that move “The Albert Haynesworth”.
If you look at his stats, the dude was unbelievably steady up through 2018. An All Star in 2017 when the Angels acquired him, he still hit 30 bombs and had a .344 OBP in 2018 at age 30. He got injured in 2019, we had the COVID year of 2020, and he had an injured / bad year in 2021.
I’m not an Upton apologist, but I see why they traded for and then signed him as he was intended to hit behind Trout. It didn’t work as he got hurt and they moved on. We see these contracts a lot. Now if they signed him for 10 years (cough, Pujols), then we’re having a different conversation.
Based on age alone they should have foreseen this decline. Nothing unusual about his career trajectory. It all could’ve been seen (and was by many) as a risky deal back then.
@Angelfan What you say is true for the most part, but now he is playing for peanuts and hopefully hammers your team. Lets clarify as Billy Beane did. He’s playing for peanuts for the M’s, but the Angels are still giving him a boat load of money to play against them.
Blech. we will never see Kelenic or Trammell again.
Do you really want to ? You’re trying to win a championship not watch 2 rookies hit below .200!
If Kelenic and/or Trammell get beat out by a 34 year old minimum salary guy, they probably don’t deserve to be seen in the majors again.
Kelenic is only 22, I’d be a bit more patient than that.
With one lost season due to covid
I wasn’t suggesting they release them tomorrow or anything.
Trammell just called up today for Souza
Interesting. Could be a good move for the M’s and doesn’t really cost them anything
Buddy “Bud” Hull
Wowie zowie and all it took was Taijuan Walker, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor and Nick Franklin…
…going ignored and unsigned as a FA by the M’s, retiring from baseball due to injuries or being on several different MLB teams over the last decade before ending up in Indy Ball, respectively. Oh, and $550K.
Why didn’t my Giants sign him?
Because Farthands doesn’t sign guys who have a track record of major league success. Replacing Posey and Bryant with literally nobody says as much. Joey Bart is trash. It pains me as a Giants fan to say this.
Uptons track record is from quite a while ago and means little now. Maybe SF wants good young players rather than to sign washed up vets based on little more than name recognition.
Because there’s very little to gain for SF. Using Upton would mean taking up a roster spot from other pieces.
Also Joey Bart isn’t trash, wtf… he’s actually a league average hitter (yea even with that batting average, because offense is down this year and they play in SF a pitchers park) at a premium position. Man… I wish you guys would take over the Giants because it’s amazing how quickly you would run it into the ground ~ Dodgers fan
Btw do you really regret Bryant leaving? Now? After his start to the year? Come on…
Posey for HoF ~ Dodgers fan
Then don’t say it ⚾️
@ted you are spoiled. you sound like a Yankees fan.
I don’t mind the Angels paying him 28m to “play” for the Mariners. That’s good for the Angels.
DiPoto is desperate.
Who in their right mind that follows MLB actually thought that Robbie Ray – who has a great season every 4 or 5 – was an ace starting pitcher that would lead his team to the promised land?
A BOps head that churns his/her roster is bound to get a few hits. But building a coherent, balanced team is not so easy. I read all the offseason stuff on here about the Mariners’ being contenders and just shook my head. As for Jarred Kelenic – people had this kid ready for the HOF 2 years ago….starting with Jarred Kelenic. (The Mets FO people at the time were not totally dumb.)
That is not a very good roster nor a very good team. But everyone here loves Jer because he’ll start churning the roster again…..and probably before the offseason starts.
Watching Ray against the Sox last night you would swear you were watching Tennis with the way he grunts as he throws every pitch (to be fair though, Rich Hill does the same thing but he’s also 12 years older than Ray)
Dipoto is desperate? Upton is desperate this guys been playing pro ball for decades. Musta had a buncha Luna coin
It will prove to be an average roster by the end of the season. I’m not saying they’ll be 19-31 then go on to win a title like the Nats but I think they’ll show to be better than they’ve been so far. They’ve had a tough schedule to this point and always needed a true star bat. I liked the Winker trade (and still think it can pay off) but he wasn’t the guy to completely revamp this offense.
Why are you busting on the M’s/Dipoto for signing Ray. They didn’t give him Verlander’s or Max money. If you are going to bust a guy, look at the price.
Every team has injuries, so can’t really blame injuries for Mariners bad performance so far. Hopefully, Upton can be the spark plug to get the team back to expectation. I also wish Rick Rizzs, and his jinxing when calling games on radio, are gone.
In France it’s illegal to call a pig Napoleon, but just try and stop me.
Mariners were outscored 748-697 in 2021. The only team in MLB to be outscored and have a winning record. Somehow they went 33-19 in one run games – takes some luck for that to happen. Mariners are being outscored in 2022 176-155……and this time around are a much more normal 7-6 in one run games. Getting outscored generally doesn’t work well for getting a lot of wins……need more than Justin Upton
I think people downplay the mariner bullpen last year and call it “luck” that their record was so good in 1 run games. Even as dumb as Scott Servais is he couldn’t screw it up. This year the bullpen has regressed back to mediocrity.
Credit the bullpen for 2021 then, but either way the Mariners have shown over their past 200 games that opponents outscore them. Giving up more runs than you score is generally not part of formula for a winning team. They need more than Upton.
Selah Rick 2
You mean someone else like Haniger and maybe Kyle Lewis that hasn’t been there so far this year. And Rodriguez and Winker who both are showing improvement as it gets warmer. Upton is just a piece that could add to multiple other bats.
Haniger and Lewis would certainly help, but every team has injuries, and they had Haniger last year and were outscored.
Selah Rick 2
But they didn’t have Frazier, Winker, Rodriguez and Suarez. These guys were supposed to compliment Haniger. Instead there just trying to make up for him being out. Seattle’s main issue is they put to much hope into Kelenic and Toro. Handing them a spot on the 26 with no backup plan except for AAA guys a who aren’t any better. Adding Upton, Haniger and Lewis could solidify the lineup for a stretch run.
Stretch run? With this roster, a stretch run for 3rd place sounds about right.
Recruiting Ichiro, Jr, and Buhner from the old timer game squad might have a bigger impact than Upton and the injury comeback duo.
Selah Rick 2
We shall see!
Unfortunately he just didn’t live up to his potential and contract.
So it’s come to this.
Honestly at this point what is the aversion to giving Dylan Moore regular PAs, he looks like he’s good again and he has plus defense at basically every position.
I agree with this post about Dylan Moore. He needs another shot. He is the real deal in the field and on the bases and hits for power. What he has lacked is putting the ball in play consistently. He needs another shot.
As a Angels fan I get the feeling Dipoto would like nothing more than Upton rebounding and sticking it to the Angels.
But the Mariners are too far back. Their BP won’t allow them to get back into it. Dipoto and his constant tinkering with the roster has undermined this team.
Hop Sing his seamstress doesn’t mind. He gets paid for every letter he has to sew on the uniforms.
.And Dipoto has him on stand by
The Mariners aren’t too far back. Look at the Red Sox. It’s not even June yet. Lot of baseball to be played. I’m an Angels fan and I’m not sleeping on Seattle. I just realized what I just wrote. That’s gold right there.
@dirkg Angels tend to fall.
Please give Souza a 1 way ticket home.
Upton could probably step in and be the M’s 2nd best hitting OF behind Julio, that’s sad.
All the successes the M’s had last year, are failures this year
I remember M’s fans thinking they were so set in the OF that they screaming when Dipoto was looking at FA outfielders. The baseball gods had other plans.
JUST ANOTHER HALO VICTORY!!!
Good luck to Justin with his career. I liked him here in Anaheim. I’d rather he went to San Diego, but who knows, Jerry might trade him in a month or two.