Dan Uggla recently rejected a four-year, $48 million offer from the Florida Marlins and it's now being widely reported that the Marlins are now "aggressively shopping" Uggla.
So, why did Uggla reject the offer? Well, a four-year deal for Uggla would really be a three-year extension on top of his final year of arbitration (he's still under contract this year), making him a free agent at 34 years of age. Uggla's side has been clear that he is seeking at least a five-year contract as a free agent after next season. This would pay him with guarantees another two full years until age 36.
As the only second baseman in history with four 30-homer seasons and more home runs, RBI and extra base hits than the biggest power hitting free agent currently on the market (Jayson Werth) the past three years, Uggla has legitimate reason to believe that his services are worth more than the $48 million offered. Uggla knows that Jayson Werth is going to get more than that, and he also knows that a middle infielder that has that kind of power is a lot rarer than an outfielder with those attributes.
What about fielding?
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Yeah, about that... While Jason Werth is at the top of his position with regard to fielding, no one is going to mistake Dan Uggla for Roberto Alomar (10 Gold Gloves). I'm not going to go into fielding stats such as errors or range quotients because anyone who's ever seen the man attempt to field a ball knows what I'm talking about. The guy looks like he's simultaneously battling trying to find the ground with his feet while attempting to pick up mercury.
Actually, when you think about it, one has to wonder why the Marlins even offered the power hitting defensive butcher a long term contract. It's clear that the Marlins are moving towards being a team built on pitching and defense. You don't need to look any further than the team's decision to bring back defensive guru Perry Hill into the mix this year to figure that out.
It would seem that Uggla's services are best meant to be used as DH, but the market is flooded with those type of candidates and if one were going to do that, they would be better off going after Adam Dunn who gives more flexibility as he can play two defensive positions poorly when needed (1B, OF) while Uggla only has the ability to botch balls at second base.
If you believe the rumors, the Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals have all expressed interest in Uggla.
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Someone is going to end up with a hitter that will may 32 HR's and 95 RBI, but he's also going to hit .260 and be the cause of a lot of quite a few unearned runs.
MLB isn't fantasy baseball. A player's value to a club lies not only in scoring runs and driving them in, but preventing them as well. While Uggla has certainly showed consistent power and the ability to score runs, it's not like he routinely knocks in 120-130 runs. Dan Uggla has averaged 93 RBI per year. In fact, Uggla has only knocked in above that 93 RBI average once, this past year with 105.
Clearly to me his liability on defense is not enough to outweigh his offensive production; at least not to the tune of $48 million or more.
Uggla has some solid reasons to have turned down the Marlins contract and financially he may have gauged the market correctly, that remains to be seen. The Marlins however may turn out to be the lucky ones if they can get catcher and pitchers that they want in return for trading him as don't think they would ever get fair value production and to me, being fixated on the 30 HR thing is foolish.
It remains to be seen if someone shells out a 5th year and more than $48 million for such a one dimensional player. Perhaps they will, I just don't see how he's worth it. - Mike Cardano
Mike is the founder of Around the Horn Baseball & Xtra Point Football.
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