Justin Upton had a very anti-climactic career for the LA Angels. In 2017, he was traded to the Halos for the last 27 games of the season. He hit .245/.357/.531 (.887 OPS) in those 27 games, and then he hit .257/.344/.463 (.808 OPS) with 30 bombs the next year.
It was all butterflies and rainbows for the slugger, as he had been earning his giant contract. In 2019, however, he missed 99 games. Hitting 12 home runs and driving in 40 runs, he made a difference when he was out there. He just was rarely out there. In 2020, he missed 18 out of 60 games.
It was painfully obvious that his play was being affected by the injuries in those two years. In 2021, he was off to a tremendous start--hitting .247/.336/.480 (.816 OPS) with 14 home runs and 40 runs scored in 63 contests. After his back injury on June 22nd, however, he missed a month.
When he came back, his performance was regressing. The injury was still nagging him, and it got to the point where the injury was too much to deal with and he had to be shut down after 29 more games. He was DFA'd by the Halos just before the season, and as expected, he cleared waivers and had to be released. That's not surprising, as nobody would want to entertain the Angels with a trade for him. Or...is it?
Bob Nightengale reported that two teams discussed trades with the LA Angels for Justin Upton.
MLB Insider Nightengale reported that two "small-market, non-contending teams" were interested in trading with the LA Angels for Justin Upton. It ended up not mattering, as Upton used his no-trade clause to avoid going to either of the squads interested.
Perhaps they could pick him up now that they can sign him for next to nothing. The Angels will have to pay all of his $28 million this season other than a prorated minimum salary amount that whichever new team he'd go to would have to pay. It's absolutely a great bargain to sign Upton on as a platoon player to hit against left-handed pitching.
Even in the injury-plagued disaster of a 2021 season for the Angels, Upton still hit .225/.355/.483 (.838 OPS) last year against left-handed pitching. He also still has legit power, as he hit 17 home runs in 89 games. Most would rather bring him in for nothing, but there were a couple of teams interested in trading for the former No. 1 overall pick.