MLB: Upton, D-backs agree to $51.25M, 6-year deal
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. — Outfielder Justin Upton and the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $51.25 million, six-year contract.
Arizona scheduled a Wednesday news conference with Upton, general manager Josh Byrnes and agent Larry Reynolds to announce the deal.
The 22-year-old outfielder and former No. 1 draft pick was a first-time All-Star last season, when he hit .300 with 26 homers and 86 RBIs.
He gets a $1.25 million signing bonus, half on April 15 and the rest on July 15. He receives salaries of $500,000 this year, $4.25 million in 2011, $6.75 million in 2012, $9.75 million in 2013, $14.25 million in 2014 and $14.5 million in 2015.
Upton was the first overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft and signed with Arizona the following January. His older brother B.J. was the No. 2 pick overall in 2002.
Upton was a month shy of his 20th birthday when he was called up by the Diamondbacks in 2007 and is entering his third full season with the big league team.
A shortstop in high school, Upton was switched to the outfield by Arizona and still has trouble at times gauging fly balls. But he has one of the stronger arms in baseball, and at the plate his statistics match those of some of the game’s greatest at the same tender age.
The issue, of course, is whether he can live up to that potential. The Diamondbacks are making an expensive gamble that he will.
General manager Josh Byrnes has negotiated long-term deals with ace right-hander Dan Haren and outfielder Chris Young. Young, however, has struggled mightily since signing a $28 million, five-year contract in April 2008.