Justin Upton reveals ‘sketchy’ free agent experience
Justin Upton signed a five-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Angels early on in the winter, but even he wasn’t immune to the suspect free agent market.
In an in-depth interview with Pedro Moura of The Athletic that ran Thursday, the four-time All-Star outfielder discussed his bizarre free agency experience.
“Every team wants you at their price,” he said. “I will say this, and I don’t give a f— if you write it or not: I had a stretch in free agency where, within a week, every team called and offered me a one-year deal. After eight years of pretty good baseball. In my mind, that’s really, really, really sketchy and weird.
“It was somewhere between seven and 10 teams I heard about from my agent,” Upton continued when pressed further. “It’s like, a one-year deal? I feel like I’ve done pretty damn good. Maybe I should shut it down.”
In the full interview, Upton further mentioned how teams would call him and tell him what he didn’t do well in order to justify a lower contract offer. He also discussed why he believes that the free agent-courting process is dead.
The 30-year-old Upton, who reached career-highs with 35 home runs and 109 RBIs last season, did re-sign with the Angels for five years and $106 million at the start of November. But his greater point still remains: teams curiously played extreme hardball with the free agent class this offseason, which led to quality talents like Eric Hosmer and Yu Darvish not signing until February. Meanwhile, others like Jake Arrieta and Mike Moustakas are still looking for employment even now that it is March with Opening Day just a month away.
The frigid market has created some serious bad blood between representatives from both sides, and now Upton is giving us an idea of just how ticked off the players themselves are at this winter’s developments as well.