USA Today's Bob Nightengale has a pair of tweets that outline Arizona's six-year $50.35 million contract extension with rightfielder Justin Upton that will buy out the entirety of his arbitration eligibility as well as two years of free agency. The deal will be officially announced tomorrow.
Called up for good in 2008, he took over in right for the Diamondbacks at age 20. His batting line in 2009 was a superb .300/.366/.532 in 588 plate appearances. Under the deal, Upton will become a free agent following the 2015 season when he will be 28 years old, and able to command another significant contract on the open market.
The new deal will ensure that Upton will never have to deal with the salary arbitration process. Earlier this offseason, BJ Upton, Justin's elder brother, lost his arbitration hearing with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Upton, who made $412,000 in 2009, was not arbitration eligible this offseason, though he would have qualified after the 2010 season. The deal is comparable to, though more lucrative than, the six year deal Dustin Pedroia signed with Boston following the 2008 season. Like Pedroia, Upton had just over two years of Major League Service time when the deal was agreed upon.
Multi-year deals were very popular this year among arbitration eligible players like Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Josh Johnson and Franklin Gutierrez. The contracts provide teams with cost certainty and allow them to forgo the potentially contentious arbitration process. Players gain the security of a guaranteed salary and the stability of a settled contract. The trend began with the Cleveland Indians in the early 1990s as a means of maintaining their core of young players without budget busting increases via salary arbitration
The Biz of Baseball maintains detailed information about baseball's salary arbitration process. Our arbitration scorecard has a recap of cases since 2005 as well as links to more detailed data. For a historical perspective on salary arbitration, please click here. Our archive of articles on the process, including player signings and filings can be found here.
Joe Tetreault is a member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey.
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