Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi had some interesting stuff on Dan Uggla from the GM meetings.
The two teams showing the most interest in Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla would move him to third base.
The Giants and Orioles are the clubs in strongest pursuit of Uggla, according to major-league sources.
The Red Sox also have inquired, envisioning Uggla as a potential replacement for free agent Jason Bay in left field.
Hat tip to MLBTradeRumors.
This is good news in terms of just having more teams interested in dealing for Uggla. The team will not backed into a corner with dealing with any one team, and thus will hold a good deal more leverage. In addition, the teams interested here, the San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, and maybe even the Boston Red Sox, all hold solid players that would worthwhile in return for Uggla. Let’s take a quick look at these franchises.
The one thing that excites me about a potential trade with the Baltimore Orioles is the acquisition of a major league player at a position of need for the major league squad. One of the trouble spots for the Marlins is the corner outfield spot not occupied by Cody Ross, since the Marlins (should) move Chris Coghlan into the infield to play second base when Uggla is moved. Luckily, the one thing Baltimore has in terms of major league depth is in the outfield. Center fielder Adam Jones and right fielder Nick Markakis are locked in at their respective spots, but the remaining three outfielder/DH types are major league quality players who are viable starters. Outfielders Nolan Reimold, Luke Scott, and Felix Pie are all capable of starting with a major league team, but there will only be two slots for the Orioles to play them.
Reimold was the Orioles’ starting left fielder for much of the year and put up an impressive .365 wOBA off of a solid .279/.365/.466 slash line. Unfortunately, he was also very bad in the field, putting up -11 runs in the corner spot. There is a sign that his defense should improve, as he was apparently hobbled by an ankle injury, but at this point he projects no better than Coghlan in the outfield. Still, a move for Reimold would be markedly better than seeing Emilio Bonifacio anywhere.
Reimold just received his call up to the bigs last season at age 26. Felix Pie, on the other hand, has been in out of the majors for a few years and will only be 25 next year. Pie arrived in Baltimore from the Chicago Cubs with a reputation of a failed prospect. He had an awful start in left field for the Orioles, which led to his benching in favor of Reimold. However, when Adam Jones suffered an injury that shelved him for the remainder of the season, Pie returned to the starting lineup at his natural position of center field and impressed. Overall, Pie put up a modest .266/.326/.437 line, good for a .326 wOBA, below average but much better than his awful start. In addition, Pie provided his typical stellar defense, logging seven runs above average according to UZR, well in line with his career averages both in left and center field.
Finally, Scott played DH for much of the season for Baltimore and hit a pretty typical .258/.340/.488, good for a .355 wOBA that falls quite in line with his .359 career mark. In addition, while Scott DH’ed for much of the year, he actually is not a bad outfielder in general, logging over 2500 innings in his career and putting up a modest 4.7 UZR/150 playing both corners. Scott’s only downside is his age, as he will be turning 32 next year.
The Orioles are also not bereft of talent in the minors, as they have one of the deepest systems in baseball. While the team would undoubtedly not be willing to part with Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, or Jake Arrieta, their three top pitching prospects, the Orioles do have a number of interesting young prospects to package along with one of the cost-controlled outfielders. Righties Brad Bergesen, Brandon Erbe, and David Hernandez, along with lefty Zack Britton, may all be interesting choices to come along to the Marlins for Uggla. Clearly, this is a trading partner I’d actually be excited about.
San Francisco Giants
The major reason to be excited by the interest of the Giants is not any one particular player, but rather the presence of GM Brian Sabean. As you may recall, Sabean did a very good job overpaying for second baseman Freddy Sanchez, a player I was interested in the Marlins acquiring. As a projected average to slightly below average hitter and an above average fielder, Sanchez would have been expected to be a 2.5 WAR player, and under the terms of his deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he would have been paid $8M, providing around $3M in surplus value. For that, they traded righty prospect Tim Alderson, the second best pitcher in their organization and a top 50 prospect according to Baseball America.
As I mentioned yesterday, Uggla could be expected to bring $15M in surplus value for the remaining two cost-controlled years. Even at a 3 WAR rate, you’d expect Uggla to be worth $10M in surplus value. The $15M tag is about worth a Top 1-50 pitching prospect, according to Victor Wang’s research. Do I smell Madison Baumgarner?
I normally would not suggest this, as I believe the Giants feel very strongly about Baumgarner. However, the combination of what appears to be fair expected value on the trade (without considering Baumgarner as an individual prospect beyond his ranking status) and the fact that Sabean has quite recently overpaid in this type of trade and the Marlins have a decent shot of getting good value here. If it isn’t Baumgarner, however, the Marlins can still get good value. Fred Lewis is a name I hear a lot as a trade candidate, as apparently the Giants are not a fan of his skillset of patience and decent corner outfield defense. Lewis is also cost-controlled, though he’ll be 29 next season. Jonathan Sanchez, an electric but erratic lefty starter, has been linked to the Marlins in a trade as well, going back to last year. I would say that the Giants would be less inclined to deal him given the fact that he pitched solidly this year and threw a no-hitter. In addition, a package of B-rated prospects such as Nick Noonan, Connor Gillespie, or Henry Sosa could be in the mix.
Here’s some bonus stuff from the Rosenthal piece.
If the Marlins trade Uggla, they almost certainly will keep third baseman Jorge Cantu, who also is arbitration-eligible.
Emilio Bonifacio likely would replace Uggla at second, with top prospect Logan Morrison perhaps taking over at first.
These two would be awful occurrences for the team. Jorge Cantu-production can be found in the free agent market at a cheaper price, and Bonifacio is, well, Bonifacio.
Should be interesting.