If you were dreaming about the Orioles going and adding Justin Upton on a short-term contract on top of what they've already got going on for 2016, I have some bad news for you. Upton has signed a six year deal with the Tigers, which according to Ken Rosenthal is worth about $133 million. It seems the couple of weeks of hand-wringing about how maybe he would have to settle for less in order to try again next year was all a bunch of hot air.
For all that the O's were supposedly said to have entertained the idea of Upton earlier in the offseason, it always seemed like it was just a part of the Chris Davis game. As it ends up, the Upton expenditure will be for more over the next six years by far than what the O's will be paying Davis in that time. They're committed to about $30 million less for Davis during Upton's contract.
Maybe it was never too realistic that the O's would even land Upton, given that the contract also includes an opt out after its second season. Dan Duquette has expressed that he doesn't think those make sense for the Orioles. That's another argument for another day.
The two year opt out makes sense for the Tigers, though. They're only giving up a third round pick to sign Upton. The Tigers first round pick at #9 is protected. They already gave up their second round pick earlier in the offseason to sign Jordan Zimmermann. They don't have to feel like they are losing a high draft pick for potentially only two years of a player.
Since it's only a third round pick that's being scratched, there's not much impact on the top of the O's draft by this signing. The Padres, who are losing Upton, gain a compensation pick that will slot in ahead of the one the O's receive for Wei-Yin Chen's departure. For now, that O's pick will be at #29.
It makes sense for Upton too. He's still relatively young, so he'll have the option to become a free agent again at age 30. If he rips off two great seasons in a Tigers uniform, he can take another chance to try to get paid more and for longer.
There's still Yoenis Cespedes out there, but you can probably guess he's going to get paid in the long run, if not exactly as much as Davis or Upton. The Orioles right now are going to be the Orioles for this year. Hey, pitchers and catchers report in a month. Bring on the baseball.