Marlins Slugger Dan Uggla a Fit for Atlanta Braves?

Cameron BrittAnalyst IDecember 26, 2009

MILWAUKEE - MAY 14: Dan Uggla #6 of the Florida Marlins prepares to hit the ball against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 14, 2009 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Marlins 5-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

About a month ago, I would have completely dismissed any type of Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves rumors as just that, rumors.

But, with the Braves still having a hole in left field (a position that many say Uggla could play) and the Marlins seemingly eager to trade their arbitration-eligible second baseman, you have to at least think about it.

Let's first examine what Uggla brings to the table.

For his career, the soon-to-be 30-year-old is a .257 hitter and has slugged at least 27 home runs in each of his first four big league seasons.

The right-handed Uggla has also managed an impressive career OPS of .826 and drew a very respectable 92 walks this past season (his walk totals have gradually increased in each of him MLB seasons).

The Kentucky-native has also reached or exceeded 150 K's three out of his four big league seasons, while logging at least 146 games in each of them.

There's no doubt that Uggla will produce offense.

His only drawbacks are that he will produce a ton of outs and give the opposition a few extra with his glove.

But, with the Braves seeking a presence in the middle-to-lower part of their lineup (even with the Glaus signing), you would have to think that Uggla and his expected $7 million raise through arbitration could be a fit.

Oh  and Uggla managed a .964 OPS at The Ted in 2009 with four doubles and a homer in nine games.

That would be nice for the Braves to have on their side.

Now, let's talk about what it would take if the Braves were to decide to pursue Uggla.

In talks with the San Francisco Giants, the Marlins expressed interest in a proven, consistent, MLB starter Jonathan Sanchez, or 22-year-old, high-A lefty Clayton Tanner, along with some mid-level pitching prospect.

That means that the Marlins want either a big league starter who could be under team control for the next couple of years or a high-upside, low-level starter with an additional, lower-ceiling pitching prospect.

But with the Braves being a divisional foe, you would have to think that the Fish would command a little more than that.

I'm thinking that a combination of the possible Giants packages would have to be used.

In other words a MLB pitcher and a prospect that falls somewhere in between the high- and medium ceiling prospects that the Marlins were asking for from the Giants.

That for me, translates into a package of Kris Medlen (big shocker from me, right?) and a pitcher of the Cory Gearrin /Scott Diamond cloth.

The Braves have a surplus of those kind of guys and guys that the Marlins always seem to love to have, so that seems pretty fair to me.

If talks were to develop a little further, I could see an outfielder (probably someone out of Cody Johnson, Jordan Schafer, Melky Cabrera, or--if the Marlins had another suitor and the Braves REALLY wanted to push it over the top--Matt Diaz) being added to the package.

For my money, I think Uggla would be a nice fit for the Braves.

Legitimate, reliable (there's your key), 30 home run power has been what's really missing from the Braves' lineup since their last divisional title in 2005.

Inserting a guy like Uggla into left field (Prado has the 2B market covered), even with the strikeouts and potential sub-.250 average, would be huge for the Braves' lineup.

Like I said in the beginning of this; a month ago, I would have called this silly.

But now it seems to make a lot of sense for the Braves to pursue Dan Uggla.

As long as the Braves' front office, Liberty Media, and fans like us are willing to put up with some substantial arbitration raises and an occasional blooper in the outfield, I think Uggla would be an excellent addition to the Braves.


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