The Detroit Tigers weren’t done with their offseason just yet.
What they’re getting
Upton is one of eight players who hit at least 25 home runs in each of the past three seasons. His 82 home runs in that span rank 17th.
By adding Upton, the Tigers added another right-handed hitter to a lineup that was already overwhelmingly right-handed. They’re projected to start a lineup of eight right-handed hitters and one switch-hitter.
Upton's 190 career home runs are more than any active player who will be 28 or younger on Opening Day.
Upton has adapted to left field since moving there full-time in 2014. His eight defensive runs saved in 2015 were his most in a season in his career.
What he’s getting
Once Upton passes his physical, he’ll reportedly receive a deal worth $132.75 million. It’s the seventh $100 million free-agent contract awarded this offseason, the most in major league history. The Tigers will be the third team to sign multiple free agents to $100 million contracts in the same offseason. They signed starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann to such a deal earlier this winter.
The Yankees did so in both the 2008-09 and 2013-14 offseasons.
The deal is the second-largest free-agent contract given by the Tigers, topped only by Prince Fielder’s $214 million deal.
Not at his best with the bat in 2015
Upton hit the free-agent market off one of the weakest offensive seasons in his career. His .251 batting average was his worst since 2008 and his .336 on-base percentage was his worst since 2007.
It wasn’t due to playing in Petco Park. Upton hit .277 with a .506 slugging percentage there, but hit only .225 with a .402 slugging percentage on the road.
Upton had odd splits last season. He hit only .191 with three of his 26 home runs against left-handed pitching. That was never an issue for him in any other season. He has a .273/.380/.506 career slash line against left-handed pitching.
However, Upton did finish with 4.4 wins above replacement for the season, his second most in any season (6.1 in 2011).
A busy first offseason
This move would seem to finish out a busy offseason for Tigers general manager Al Avila, who replaced Dave Dombrowski in that role. The Tigers’ big-ticket purchases were Upton and Zimmermann, who combined for 7.9 wins above replacement last season.
But it’s not purely a net gain of that much. Remember that last season, the Tigers entered Opening Day with both Yoenis Cespedes and David Price on their roster (who combined for 7.5 WAR with the Tigers through the end of July). Both were dealt at the trade deadline.
Where the Tigers made their biggest improvements was in the bullpen, with the trades for Francisco Rodriguez and Justin Wilson and the signing of Mark Lowe. Detroit ranked 27th in the majors with a 4.38 bullpen ERA last season.