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August blockbuster: Angels get wild-card boost by taking on Justin Upton's contract

Justin Upton is on the move from the rebuilding Tigers to the contending Angels after a rare major August trade. Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

An Aug. 31 trade that means something? I never thought I'd see the day. The Angels traded for Justin Upton on Thursday, boosting their wild-card chances in a significant way while removing a problematic contract from the Tigers' roster.

With 5.0 WAR and counting through 125 games, Upton, 30, is in the midst of his best season since 2011 -- and possibly his best season, period. The bat speed that seemed to vanish last year has returned, and as a result Upton is punishing fastballs again, while adjusting enough to sliders that they're no longer the obvious way to get him out.