Report: Upton Jr. opts out of minors deal with Giants

by
Adam Hunger / USA TODAY Sports

If Melvin Upton Jr. returns to the majors this year, it won't be in a San Francisco Giants uniform.

The veteran outfielder, who's played the entirety of this season with San Francisco's Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento, has reportedly decided to opt out of his minor-league contract with the NL West club in hopes of joining a big-league contender for the stretch run, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Upton, who turned 33 on Monday, joined the Giants organization after being cut by the Toronto Blue Jays on the eve of their season opener. But he didn't play a game with the Triple-A River Cats until July 1 due to a torn thumb ligament that required surgery; shoulder irritation suffered in his first Triple-A game of the season then sidelined him for another five weeks.

In just 12 games with Sacramento this year, Upton hit .244/.306/.333 with one double, one home run, four RBIs, and 14 strikeouts. He did not attempt to steal a base.

Upton split 2016 between the Blue Jays and San Diego Padres, posting a .693 OPS with 20 homers and 20 stolen bases across 149 games. He recorded just nine extra-base hits with a .578 OPS in 165 regular-season plate appearances after being traded to Toronto, though he did go 2-for-6 with a homer during the Blue Jays' ALDS victory over Texas.

While Upton's production has declined dramatically over the past five seasons, his track record against left-handed pitching (he sported an .874 OPS versus southpaws last season) combined with his speed and defensive abilities might convince a big-league team to add him as a bench piece for the stretch.

In order to be eligible to appear on a postseason roster, Upton would need to join his new organization before Sept. 1.