Angels general manager Berry Minassian, who spoke to reporters ahead of Los Angeles’ 5-4 loss of cubsAdele, 22, and Marsh, 24, said they played their way into the regular season roster with their performances in Cactus League games.
“It was more about [them] And what they did this spring,” Minassian said. “Joe, I think anyone who saw him play this spring [would think he’s] It was very cool on both sides of the ball. And Brandon is obviously too, especially in the last couple of days swinging the racquet – the left bat. Defensively, the sports they both bring, and on the bases, they both give us a different dynamic that we haven’t had in the past. So we felt they were a really good fit.”
However, Minassian admitted having had a “very difficult” conversation with Upton, who signed a five-year contract with the Angels after the 2017 season and was a popular veteran presence at the club.
“The better you do as a club, the more depth you have as a club,” Minassian said. “This was a really tough decision, we spent a lot of time thinking about it and talking about it. We just felt like Joe and Brandon were ready to go.”
The Angels now have seven days to either trade the 34-year-old defensive player or put him in outright irrevocable concessions. Upton has one year and $28 million left on his five-year contract, $106 million, and Los Angeles would be in trouble for that money if no team traded in his favour or demanded a waiver.
The Angels made a similar move last season when they named Albert Pujols to the appointment. Pujols, who was in the final season of a 10-year, $240 million deal, went unclaimed and was released before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Asked about the possibility of taking responsibility for the rest of Upton’s contract, Minassian said: “We are trying to win matches. We are trying to put the best team on the field that will win us the most matches.”
Los Angeles coach Joe Maddon said Upton had had a great camp and been in the best shape he’s been in for the past several years, but that Adele and Marsh were “mature”.
“You have guys on the horizon,” Madon said. “It’s just a natural arrangement of things. That’s how this works.”
Minassian said the decision to keep Adele and Marsh in place of Upton was a “decent” one. Adell and Marsh can play several positions on the field – Marsh can handle all three – and both are considered better defenders than Upton at this point in his career. Their versatility essentially gives the angels a realm of four men, side by side Mike Trout and 28 years old Taylor Ward.
Minassian declined to say how the playing time was divided among the three corner players. Madonn said his goal is to get Adell, Marsh and Ward from 450 hitters to 500 hitters.
“In a three-man court, you need four,” Minassian said. “We feel good about the external defense with that group.”
Upton was 5 for 15 with three homers in Cactus League games, but he reached .211 with .705 OPS last season and was on the hit list twice with back issues. Adele hits .273 this spring with three homers, Marsh hits .303 with a homer and three stolen bases. Ward, who hits the .296, also has a .296.
First picked overall by Arizona in the 2005 MLB Draft, Upton played with the D-backs, Braves, Padres and Tigers before the Angels acquired him from Detroit in a ’17 deal. Upton signed a five-year contract with the Angels after season 17.
In 15 major league seasons, Upton has notched .262 with 324 Homer, 1,000 RBI and .814 OPS, including 75 homers and .764 OPS over 366 games with the Angels.
“I hope he realizes if that’s what he decided to do,” Maddon said.