Tha Sports Junkies 101

Indians Agree to Minor League Deal with Melvin Upton Jr.

Melvin Upton Jr. Kieth Allison/ via
  1. MLB

Friday brought some bad news for the Cleveland Indians, but there was also a bit of a bright spot, in the signing of Melvin Upton Jr.  The bad news was seeing Carlos Santana sign with the Phillies.  Even though three years $60 million was a little rich, they would have liked to bring him back.  He had been a big part of their recent success.  However, he decided to go to Philly, and leave Cleveland behind.

The Indians were able to make a move of their own, however, though it was not as significant as the Santana move.  They agreed to terms with Melvin Upton Jr. on a minor league contract.  Should Upton Jr. make the big leagues in 2018, he will be owed $1.5 million, plus incentives based on plate appearances.

Melvin Upton Jr.

Upton Jr. recorded his first 20 home run and 20 stolen base season in 2007 while in Tampa Bay.  He looked like he could be an annual 20-20 player, but his power faded for a few seasons after that.  He once again hit the mark in 2011, and actually came close to 30-30, in 2012, but fell just short, hitting 28 home runs to go with his 31 stolen bases. His inconsistency kept him from being a really special player.  He was never the same after the 2012 season.

He did reach the 20-20 plateau again in 2016, but injuries held him to just 12 Triple-A games in 2017, and he was unable to attempt to repeat the performance.  The Indians are hoping he can come back strong and just get close to his former high level of play.

Low Risk, High Reward

This signing is mostly a short term, low risk, high reward move for the Indians.  If things do not work out, they are not out too much money.  If they do work out, the Indians still do not owe Upton Jr. a ton of money, and will reap the benefits of his production.  Given their current position, this can only be a positive acquisition for the Indians.