ANAHEIM -- As Angels general manager Billy Eppler met with Justin Upton and his representatives throughout the month of October, he didn't think much about the possibility of losing Upton to free agency. For Eppler, it was clear that both sides were working toward the same goal, which yielded a
ANAHEIM -- As Angels general manager Billy Eppler met with Justin Upton and his representatives throughout the month of October, he didn't think much about the possibility of losing Upton to free agency. For Eppler, it was clear that both sides were working toward the same goal, which yielded a new five-year, $106 million contract that will keep Upton in Anaheim through 2022.
"It felt, to me, over the last 30 days of our season that Justin wanted to be here, and we wanted to have him here," Eppler said Thursday. "So we just focused on our relationship and didn't really consider other alternatives or anything of that nature. We just really wanted to make sure we could keep this union together, and he did, too."
Upton, who was acquired from the Tigers in exchange for pitching prospects Grayson Long and Elvin Rodriguez in August, had $88.5 million over four seasons left on the six-year contract he signed with Detroit and could have used his opt-out clause to become a free agent again this offseason. But the Angels re-worked his deal to entice him to stay, adding a year and $17.5 million, as well as a no-trade clause.
Upton, 30, is coming off a career season in which he batted .273 with a .901 OPS, 35 home runs and 109 RBIs in 152 games between the Tigers and the Angels. He will now give the Angels a middle-of-the-order bat to slot behind Michael Trout, and long-term stability in left field, a position that has been a revolving door for the organization since Josh Hamilton's departure in 2015.
"Justin embodied our offensive philosophy, which is to get on base and hit the ball hard," Eppler said. "He's shown a knack for doing that. He's got the power and the on-base skills that we covet, as well as the character and the professional approach necessary to be a key member of our core moving forward."
A key component of Upton's new contract is that it gives the Angels greater financial flexibility in the short term. Under his old deal, Upton was owed $22.125 million in each of the next four seasons, but he is now set to earn $16 million in 2018, $18 million in 2019, $21 million in 2020, $23 million in 2021 and $28 million in 2022.
"Reconfiguring the cash flow of the deal was important for us," Eppler said. "We articulated that throughout the process with Justin. To really capture Justin's commitment to winning, he was all about doing that. Completely on board."
Now that left field has been taken care of, the Angels will have the rest of the offseason to focus on shoring up other areas of need on their roster, including second base, the corner-infield spots and the pitching staff.
"I think we need to remain opportunistic and focus on securing things that we deem are good value," Eppler said.
• The Angels will have another vacancy to fill on their coaching staff, as third-base coach Ron Roenicke departed Thursday to take a new position with the Red Sox. Roenicke, who had been with the Angels for the past two seasons, will serve as Boston's bench coach under new manager Alex Cora.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.