clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Blue Jays acquire Melvin Upton Jr. from Padres

Toronto is adding some depth to their outfield arsenal.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays have agreed to acquire outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. and cash from the Padres for righty Hansel Rodriguez, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heyman reports that Toronto will be on the hook for only $5 million of the roughly $22 million Upton is owed over the next two seasons, with San Diego picking up more than $17 million.

For the past two days, the Padres have held Upton out of the lineup despite a clean bill of health, assuming that one of the teams pursuing him would finalize a deal and he could be whisked off in the night to a new home at any moment. The Orioles and Indians were also said to be interested, but it was the Blue Jays who Rosenthal called the “front-runners” to acquire the 31-year-old outfielder Monday night.

Upton Jr., who will make $15.45 million this year and an additional $16.45 million in 2017, is probably best known for being the shadow of a player he was thought to be following a breakout 2008 season. However, the more acceptable numbers he put up last season followed him into 2016, and he slashed .267/.299/.465 in June with six home runs, two doubles, and eight stolen bases. July has been slightly crueler (.150/.190/.200 in 20 AB) but again, his playing time has been limited in anticipation of this deal.

The Blue Jays can slot Upton into their outfield with ease, as he plays multiple positions and brings speed to them all. His numbers are about on par with Kevin Pillar’s sagging 2016 season, though Upton is hitting .282 against lefties. Michael Saunders is also handling lefties, but has only five hits in his last 33 AB since July 9. Jose Bautista is coming back from a toe injury, playing on Monday for the first time since June 16. And Ezequiel Carrera tends to live in the same .250-.260 BA neighborhood in which Pillar and Upton own property (Though if facing southpaws is what we’re talking about, Carrera is hitting .389 against them with a .959 OPS in 54 AB).

Toronto views Upton as a potential replacement for Bautista, who will hit free agency after the season. The Jays were known to be evaluating right-handed hitting outfield options in anticipation of the potential departures of Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion this winter.

Rodriguez, 19, is a 6-foot-2, 170 lb. right-hander from the Dominican Republic who has posted a 3.06 ERA in 32.1 innings with Rookie-level Bluefield so far this season. He is ranked by MLB.com as the 18th-best prospect in Toronto’s system, and is touted for a big, projectable arm despite his young age and rawness.