Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Potential Outfield Additions

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May 22, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) celebrates a win over the Tampa Bay Rays with his teammates at Comerica Park. The Tigers defeated the Rays 9-4. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports
May 22, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) celebrates a win over the Tampa Bay Rays with his teammates at Comerica Park. The Tigers defeated the Rays 9-4. Mandatory Credit: Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jun 3, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Melvin Upton Jr. (second from right) is congratulated after stealing home to score in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 3, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Melvin Upton Jr. (second from right) is congratulated after stealing home to score in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

Melvin Upton Jr.

Melvin Upton has so far played with his brother Justin Upton (you may have heard of him) in both Atlanta and San Diego. A third reunion in Motown probably seems unlikely, but the older Upton brother is still an option for the Tigers as a fourth outfielder.

The former Tampa Bay stalwart has posted a stat line that while not spectacular, is still respectable. In 67 games, Upton is hitting .250 with a .304 on-base percentage. He’s also added 31 home runs, 17 extra-base hits—including nine home runs—and 15 stolen bases. What’s more, the outfielder is providing dependable defense in the outfield and has a 1.2 WAR.

There are really only two plausible ways Upton can be dealt to Detroit. The first is pretty simple, San Diego would have to be willing to eat most of the money still owed to the outfielder. Upton is signed through 2017 at a premium rate, and the Padres would need to pay for a significant amount of the player’s salary for it to work with the Tigers. In other words, Detroit seems unlikely to take on more money.

However, another avenue would be to send Mike Pelfrey’s contract to San Diego to help offset the salaries. The Padres would still need to eat some of Upton’s contract, but a deal built around Pelfrey and Upton could work.

Detroit has two pitchers waiting who could conceivably take Pelfrey’s place in the rotation in Anibal Sanchez (the bullpen) and Daniel Norris (Triple-A).

Meanwhile, Pelfrey could benefit from a change of scenery as he’s been victimized by a high BABIP in Detroit. What’s more, a switch to spacious Petco Park—not to mention a lack of designated hitter—could help the former Twin.

If San Diego are able to get quality innings from Pelfrey, they could conceivably trade him for more assets this winter as they continue to rebuild.

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