Dan Uggla: What Cha' Bitchin For?

Josh LevittSenior Analyst ISeptember 3, 2009

PHOENIX - JULY 10:  Dan Uggla #6 of the Florida Marlins warms up before the major league baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 10, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Marlins 8-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Does Hanley Ramirez not care because he's got a $70 million contract? Crazy as it sounds, Dan Uggla thinks/thought so: "Uggla accused Ramirez of a lack of desire and effort to win. He also said Ramirez wasn't caring because he's already secured a $70 million, six-year contract."

The funniest part about all of this to me is that Ramirez is earning $5.5 million this season and that Uggla is earning $5.35 million. In baseball terms, that amount is negligible.

I understand how jealously works, though. With a frugal franchise like the Marlins, long-term contracts like the one Ramirez has are almost impossible to come by.

Almost any other team in baseball would have locked up Uggla, the only second baseman in history to hit at least 25 home runs in each of his first four seasons, to some kind of team-friendly long-term contract.

Not the Marlins.

Their salary structure simply doesn't give them the freedom to hand out long-term contracts, so it's easy to see why Uggla could/would be jealous of Ramirez and frustrated by the situation. If the Marlins make the playoffs, or at least make a big September push, that could mean big money for him during arbitration and perhaps a bigger long-term deal with another club in the future.

The bottom line is this: as long as Uggla continues to produce at the rate he's been producing over the last four years, he's going to get paid. Uggla almost definitely will get a boost from the $5.35 he earned this year in arbitration, and he could very well become a $10 million a year player if he continues to hit well.

Once Uggla becomes a free agent after 2012, he'll be in line to receive his big money deal. No, the deal won't come close to Hanley's, but given Uggla's ability and current stats, it should be something that Uggla is very happy with.

I can't help but think that the Marlins would be doing themselves (and Uggla) a big favor by trading him to another team after the season. That would give the Marlins more payroll flexibility, especially with Uggla's salary set to go up because of arbitration, and it would give Uggla a much better chance to get a long-term contract before 2012.