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Justin Upton signed a deal he'll probably opt-out of in 2 years

Tuesday's Say Hey, Baseball includes Justin Upton's opt-out, the importance of John Farrell and a Matt Garza trade retrospective.

Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

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It's the winter of the opt-out, as almost every major free agent contract signed this offseason has one. David Price, Jason Heyward, even Ian Kennedy all agreed to deals that will let them out early on if the opportunity to make more money is there. The offseason kicked off with Zack Greinke reminding everyone of how lucrative an opt-out clause could be. That's why we might as well assume that the Tigers have only really signed Justin Upton for the 2016 and 2017 seasons: when his opt-out opportunity comes up before 2018, he'll still only be 30 years old, with a chance to sign a different, better long-term deal ahead of him.

Upton might even be able to lead the outfield market if he does opt-out, as it's not expected to be as crowded as this offseason's. Even at this late date, the offseason has Yoenis Cespedes and Dexter Fowler on it, and that's ignoring the multiple trade scenarios that could pop up to fill needs over the next few weeks. Heyward's opt-out isn't until after 2018 -- that's the next year that could be a ridiculous winter, as Jose Fernandez, Bryce Harper and a slew of this year's signings like Heyward could all be available at once -- so Upton could go to someone who doesn't want to wait, or knows they won't have the $400 million or whatever it will take to get Harper.

For now, the Tigers are guaranteed Upton's age-28 and 29 seasons, at a time when he's on a five-year run with a 126 OPS+. He doesn't need to be the man in Detroit, as they already have Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez for that, so "only" producing at that level will be perfect. It gives the Tigers a better chance of utilizing what's left of the expensive peaks of Cabrera and Justin Verlander, and presumably during the last of Jordan Zimmermann's best seasons, too.