TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels have designated Justin Upton for assignment despite owing the slugging outfielder $19.5 million this season.
The Angels will still be responsible for Upton’s salary unless he’s claimed by another team, which seems unlikely. The 34-year-old Upton hit .211 with 17 homers, 41 RBIs and a .705 OPS over 89 games last season.
Upton is in the final season of a $106 million, five-year deal he signed to stay in Los Angeles a few months after being acquired from Detroit via trade during the 2017 season.
A four-time All-Star, Upton was among the game’s promising young stars when he broke into the majors as a 19-year-old with Arizona in 2007. He has 324 home runs and 1,000 RBIs over 15 major league seasons.
By cutting Upton, the Angels have cleared space in the outfield for youngsters Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh to play every day alongside Mike Trout.
Assuming Upton clears waivers, he’s likely to refuse a minor league assignment and become a free agent.
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