Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Okay, we've all had a chance to react to the Dan Uggla trade and reconsider our initial reactions, so here are my thoughts on the matter. While it will be sad to see Uggla go, I am not surprised that the team ended up dealing him. Uggla turned down a 4-year, $48 million offer, which would have put his average annual payroll just below that of both Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson. I don't think Uggla is worth more than either, and I was sure the Marlins would not come back with a higher offer. And frankly, for a guy who has already made $14 million in his career, a guaranteed $48 million doesn't seem that bad.*
But I digress. After rejecting the Marlins' offer, it became clear that one of two things would happen: Uggla would be traded, or he and the Marlins would have gone to arbitration, and he would remain a Marlin for the first part of 2011, at least. As I've mentioned before, Uggla was at times one of the only reasons to be excited about the Marlins, and I have nothing but fond memories of his time in Florida. At the same time, I'm kind of relieved the Marlins will not be paying $10+ million in 2013 and 2014 for a power hitter on the wrong side of 30. Uggla does one thing well: hit for power, and when that goes, it goes fast, and the Marlins could have had a real albatross around their necks. It is no guarantee that his dropoff will come in 2013, but neither is it a guarantee that it won't, and I was never really comfortable with that risk.
So if the Marlins weren't going to keep Uggla long term, it made sense to trade him while his value is high, but I'm not convinced this deal works for the Marlins (I'm not the only one). Uggla was good for 5.1 WAR last year. The pieces received in return, infielder Omar Infante and reliever Mike Dunn, were not nearly as valuable (2.7 WAR for Infante, 0.1 for Dunn, albeit in only 19 IP). While Infante and Dunn will make a combined $3 million (ostensibly freeing up an extra $7 million for the Marlins to spend elsewhere), I can't help thinking that the Marlins pulled the trigger on this deal too soon. It is only November, after all. Who knows if holding out for better chips could have worked? But I am not privy to the Marlins' internal discussions, nor do I know what they had been offered from other teams for Uggla. Nonetheless, it doesn't seem like the Marlins got all that they could from an Uggla trade.
As my Twitter feed made abundantly clear this evening, the natives are restless amongst the serious portion of the fanbase. Here's hoping Mike Stanton can fill Uggla's shoes as the power-hitting bat to complement Hanley Ramirez, someone emerges to play centerfield, and the young bullpen arms the team has acquired this week pan out. But if Emilio Bonifacio ends up starting on Opening Day 2011, it may be time for a code red.
*Joe Frisaro tweeted that he heard Uggla was asking for 5 years, $71 million, which is way more than I would want to pay, fwiw.