The Los Angeles Angels have been in a heated wild card race as many of you know as they are just a game behind the Minnesota Twins for the AL Second Wild Card Spot and two games behind the New York Yankees of the AL East for the first Wild Card Spot. The Angels have now made one of the biggest last-minute trades in recent memory as they have acquired All-Star veteran slugger Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers in an effort to add more depth to the Halo’s lineup to accompany Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, Kole Calhoun, and Albert Pujols.
Of course, the Angels had to make room in their outfield for Upton who is hitting a slash line of .279/.362/.542 with 28 long balls, which resulted in the trade of left fielder Cameron Maybin who was traded to the Angels’ division rivals, the Astros.
Adding Upton to the lineup will be a huge win for the surging Angels who have been 18-10 in August while successfully keeping themselves in the race for a wild card spot. Upton has a 4.1 WAR in 2017 which ranks fourth among all AL hitters. Maybin on the other hand only possesses a slash line of .235/.333/.35 with only six bombs.
The Angels sent Minor league pitcher Grayson Long over to the Tigers along with a player to be named later or cash considerations. Upton is owed $88 million over the next four years but for the Angels this will be money well spent.
As for Cameron Maybin, he was claimed off of revocable waivers and the Astros will have to pay the remaining $9 million left on Maybin’s 2017 season contract, but the fact that the Angels now possess the much better offensive asset in Justin Upton the trade made Cameron Maybin expendable. The Angels will not receive anything in return for Maybin but they will save $1.5 Million which will most likely go towards Upton’s $88 million.
The Angels truly needed a veteran power bat to propel them into the Wild Card game as they have taken an all or nothing approach for the last chance contest, and Upton may have been the best possible way it could be done. While on the other side of the story the Tigers are now going into an all out rebuilt.
Thursday was the last day a team could acquire a new player and have them still be eligible to play in the postseason.
“What I’m excited about is being back into playoff contention and trying to help the Angels get to where they want to go,” Upton stated in an interview over the phone. “I think I can be a piece that helps that.”
Upton has not played in the playoffs since 2013 and is hoping to be a key factor for the Angels as they attempt to win their first World Series since 2002. As an Angels fan, I am super siked about the Angels’ actions and I am looking forward to watching Upton play for the Halos as they attempt to make it to the postseason and win a World Series.