Uggla holds diminishing value

This according to Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs.

I wonder, though – did the Marlins wait too long to deal [Dan Uggla]?

There was significant interest in Uggla a year ago, when he was coming off a +5 win season and was still quite the bargin; he made just $5.35 million in 2010. However, given another year of service time, Uggla is going to be looking at a ~$9 million arbitration award. That salary makes him a little pricey for small payroll clubs.

He also turns 30 in May, and his defense is considered poor enough that he’s likely to be moved off of second base by whoever acquires him. So, the Marlins are essentially marketing a third baseman who is going to get a one year salary about equal to what they would have to pay to sign a comparable free agent – in this case, Adrian Beltre or Chone Figgins.

The upside is that Uggla doesn’t require a long term commitment, but given the rate of raises in arbitration, he’s a non-tender candidate next winter. The Marlins are really only selling one year of value, and as a 30-year-old third baseman in this economy, he’s not that much of a bargain.

I don’t always agree with Cameron, who is an excellent if often cantankerous analyst, but I do agree with him somewhat here. If what he says about Uggla’s expected arbitration values is correct (he has him at $9M this upcoming season and $14M the following year) than Uggla indeed would only hold surplus value for next season. At those rates, we’d be looking at $6.8-$7.2M in surplus value if you buy the projection of around 3.5 WAR. Cameron says this sort of projection is too generous, so we should consider that at 3 WAR the Marlins would be showing only $4.5M in surplus value. This sort of value is enough to get two B-level pitching prospects, three at most if you take the high value.

What say you, Maniacs? Do you think Uggla’s arbitration should jump to that high of a scale, and if so what kind of return could we expect from any team?

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