The San Diego Padres have extended a qualifying offer to outfielder Justin Upton, as the team announced.
If he accepts the qualifying offer, he will be under contract for $15.8 million next season. If he declines and signs somewhere else, the Padres will receive a compensation draft pick in the June MLB Draft for the loss of their superstar outfielder. Upton has until November 13 to make his choice to accept or decline.
Of course, Upton will reject the deal and will get plenty of interest on the open market. A lot of clubs will bid on his power, including the Padres. They will chase after him this winter, but probably will not be able to re-sign him to their team.
Upton has rare power as a 28-year-old. Over his nine-year career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves and Padres, the three-time All-Star has hit .271/.352/.473 with 190 home runs and 616 RBI in 1,184 games played.
The outfielder was acquired by the Padres last winter in a trade with the Braves. While San Diego got Upton, Atlanta received Max Fried, Dustin Peterson, Jace Peterson and Mallex Smith.
In 2015, Upton slashed a .251/.336/.454 with 26 homers and 81 RBI through 150 games played. His best season, however, came in 2011 with the Diamondbacks. It was a season which Upton hit .289 with 31 homers and 88 RBI in his All-Star campaign.
Through 15 postseason games, the slugger has struggled with a .229 batting average, two home runs and four RBI. His best postseason series was his first in 2007 against the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series. During that series, he hit .600/.750/.600 with an RBI, three walks and two runs scored to help lead his team to a series victory.
Contenders in the market for outfielders will look at Upton, along with Chris Davis, Yoenis Cespedes, Jason Heyward and maybe even Alex Gordon. Upton should find himself hitting about .270 with 28 homers and 85 RBI in 2016.