Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dan Uggla on the Move

Contract negotiations between the Marlins and Dan Uggla have reached an impasse after Uggla rejected a 4 year $48M offer.  While the Marlins are still interested in retaining Uggla's services, they're not willing to give in to his demands (reportedly 4 years at $56M).  Now, the Marlins are seriously entertaining the idea of trading him.  Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal reports, that the Tigers, Red Sox, Braves, Nationals, Giants, Cardinals, Orioles and Blue Jays are among the potential suitors.  There are plenty of possibilities for each of the teams:

Tigers - The Tigers still have Scott Sizemore who has showed promise in the upper levels of the minors. They've apparently given up on him despite the fact he's only received 163 PAs so far.  Seems like a waste to me.  Anyway, if they're not going to play Sizemore, Uggla makes quite a bit of sense for them.  With Inge and Peralta gobbling up at bats on the left side of the infield, the Tigers will need a player that will be able to provide the offense they give away.  Uggla fits that bill. 

Red Sox - The Red Sox already have a second baseman in Dustin Pedroia, but they could have an opening at third base if Adrian Beltre leaves via free agency.  Uggla is widely considered to be a below average defensive second baseman, so moving him to less challenging position like 3B would likely be beneficial.  He definitely has the bat to play at the corner spot.

Braves - The Braves glaring weakness during the playoffs this year was their lack of infield depth.  While Martin Prado will be ready come Spring Training, Chipper Jones will not.  Trading for Uggla gives the Braves two options.  The first is play Uggla at second, while moving Prado to third.  The other option is to move Uggla to third base where he'd do less damage defensively.  Either way, adding Uggla is an upgrade.

Nationals - Their second baseman is Cristian Guzman.  Enough said.

Giants - The Giants already have Freddy Sanchez, and I don't think he's going anywhere.  If they make the move for Uggla, he'll likely either replace Uribe/Sandoval at 3B or Burrell in LF.  This is an upgrade no matter how you look at it. 

Cardinals - The Cardinals are reportedly looking for a new 2B and SS.  Luckily for Uggla, the Cardinals are willing to give up a little on the defensive side for some extra offense.  Uggla fits that mold perfectly for the Cardinals.  That said, I don't see him being a long term solution.  They already have quite a bit of payroll tied up to a few players, and Pujols is still unsigned past 2011.

Orioles - Brian Roberts is already entrenched at 2B, so Uggla would probably move to 3B.  Prospect Josh Bell (acquired from the Dodgers for George Sherill a couple of years ago) was given an opportunity this year, and didn't do so well either offensively or defensively.  Like with Sizemore, it's probably too early to give up on him, but the Orioles need to start making moves toward being competitive soon.  They haven't had a winning season since 1997, and they have a ton of payroll flexibility.  If there's one thing this team needs, it's a power bat.  Uggla provides that.  The Orioles are incredibly deep in the pitching category for prospects, and could make a trade without emptying the cupboard.

Blue Jays - Despite Aaron Hill's forgettable (and unlucky) season, he's going to be the starting 2B next year no matter what.  Uggla might be a candidate to fill the spot vacated by Edwin Encarnacion earlier this week.

The Marlins are probably right to cut of negotiations where they did.  Uggla is a good player, but he's already on the wrong side of 30.  He's a below average defender at a premium position; strikes out at a high rate; and isn't a great base runner.  Giving him an additional $2M per season, considering the Marlins revenue situation, is pretty risky.  He's not the type of player for whom you break the bank.  Giving into Uggla's demands ($14M per season) puts his salary in the same range as teammate Hanley Ramirez.  Ramirez is younger and far more talented.  Knowing the Marlins though, they'll probably fleece some unsuspecting team, and get a couple of promising prospects in return.

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