Rumor roundup: J-Up isn't ready to settle

January 9th, 2016

Contradicting reports earlier in the day, the agent for Justin Upton said Friday afternoon that the free-agent outfielder continues to seek a multiyear contract.

"We are not considering shorter-term deals at this time. The goal has been and will continue to be a long-term contract for Justin Upton," agent Larry Reynolds said.

Hot Stove Tracker

Upton, a 28-year-old three-time National League All-Star, remains one of the premium outfielders on the free-agent market, along with Yoenis Cespedes and Dexter Fowler.

Citing anonymous MLB club executives, Yahoo Sports had relayed the perception that Upton had lowered his sights to a one-year deal, in order to re-enter the market following the 2016 season, which is projected to be weaker than this offseason's crop.

Upton put up strong numbers in 2015 in his first season with the Padres, and 15 of his 26 homers came at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Since making his MLB debut as a 19-year-old in 2007 with Arizona, Upton has hit 190 homers, stolen 115 bases and recorded an OPS of .825.

The Orioles, still on hold with their former first baseman, free agent Chris Davis, have been reported as one of the teams most interested in Upton.

Upton's desire for a long-term deal was far from the only news to strike the Hot Stove on Friday. Here's a look at the latest developments from around the big leagues:

Padres progressing in search for shortstop

The Padres are reportedly nearing a solution at shortstop, a source told's Corey Brock. It's been a position in need of stability for years, as San Diego has used 18 shortstops since 2009.

The Padres have repeatedly been linked to free-agent shortstops Ian Desmond and Alexei Ramirez this winter, and the club has engaged in discussions with the agents for both players.

Desmond, 30, would be the more costly option and is likely to request a longer deal. Desmond would also cost the Padres their second-round Draft pick because he rejected a qualifying offer from the Nationals. San Diego's No. 8 overall selection is safe, however, as the top 10 picks are protected.

Desmond has been among the most productive shortstops in the Majors since debuting for the Nationals in 2009, but he endured a down season in 2015, batting a career-low .233 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs in 156 games.

Ramirez, meanwhile, hit .249 with 10 homers and 17 stolen bases with the White Sox last year. The 34-year-old is a career .273 hitter. Chicago declined his $10 million club option in November.

On a short-term deal, Ramirez could potentially serve as a bridge at shortstop to Padres prospects Jose Rondon and Javier Guerra, both of whom are possibly two years away from the big leagues.

Angels staying out of outfield market

Despite their need in left field, the Angels are reportedly steering clear of the top free-agent outfielders, including Upton, Cespedes, Fowler and Gerardo Parra, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

The Angels are roughly $5 million shy of the $189 million luxury-tax threshold, which owner Arte Moreno has expressed a desire to stay below. That lack of financial flexibility would seemingly have Los Angeles turning to the trade market for an additional left fielder beyond the current platoon of Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry.

Fletcher listed Colorado's Charlie Blackmon as one lower-cost alternative who is potentially available via trade. projects that Blackmon will earn $4.5 million via arbitration in 2016.

The Angels have a surplus of starting pitching they could offer, including veteran lefty C.J. Wilson, who has been the subject of trade speculation. Another alternative would be signing a free agent who would make less than $5 million in 2016.

Santiago, McAllister avoid arbitration

A pair of pitchers -- Angels left-hander Hector Santiago and Indians righty Zach McAllister -- avoided arbitration Friday by signing one-year deals with their respective teams.

Santiago's contract with Los Angeles is valued at $5 million for 2016. The 28-year-old went 9-9 with a 3.59 ERA through 33 games (32 starts) for the Angels last year, earning his first All-Star nod. Since joining the club in a three-team trade prior to the 2014 season, Santiago has posted a 3.65 ERA in 308 innings.

McAllister, 28, is slated to earn $1.3 million. He was a solid performer out of the bullpen for the Tribe last season, compiling a 2.49 ERA through 60 relief appearances. He'll likely serve as a late-inning option for Cleveland again in 2016.

McAllister's signing leaves the Indians with five remaining arbitration-eligible players: closer Cody Allen, outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, reliever Jeff Manship, setup man Bryan Shaw and starter Josh Tomlin. With Santiago's case settled, the Angels still have starter Garrett Richards, right fielder Kole Calhoun and reliever Fernando Salas up for arbitration.

Tuesday is the deadline for eligible players to file for arbitration. Then, teams and players will exchange salary figures on Friday. If needed, hearings will be held in February, but teams can continue to negotiate toward a deal leading up to a player's scheduled hearing.