02 March 2010
On Wednesday, the Diamondbacks are set to announce the signing of Justin Upton to a 6 year, $51.25M contract, according to reports from Ken Rosenthal
of Fox Sports and Jon Heyman
of SI.com. As a 22 year old in 2009, Upton batted .300/.366/.532, with 26 HR, 86 RBI, and 20 SB. This deal will pay Upton through three arbitration-eligible seasons as well as his first two years of potential free agency. The $51M contract will be the second largest in Diamondbacks' history, just below the $53M signed by Randy Johnson in 1999.
This looks like a great deal for the Diamondbacks, averaging out to around $8.5M per season. Although Upton is inexpensive right now, his salary would have been expected to rise significantly in 2011-2013 during his arbitration years. And as a free agent in 2014-2015, he may well have become one of the league's highest paid players. For Upton, he now has great financial security, and he can also look forward to a nice free agent contract for the 2016 season when he will only be 28 years old.
A good comparison contract is that of Nick Markakis, who signed a 6 yr, $66M deal
with the Orioles in 2009. Markakis had already completed three seasons when he signed, unlike Upton's two, so his contract was for 3 arb-eligible years plus three free agent years. If we replace Markakis' third FA-eligible year at $15M with that of a 3rd year player, and take out his 7th year option year buyout of $2M, his contract would be around $50M for the same service period.