The offseason for the Florida Marlins has been quite a whirlwind and it a surprise twist blew the Marlins way when Dan Uggla stunned the front office be rejecting a four year, $48 million extension. This past season, Uggla had career highs in batting average (.287), home runs (33) and RBIs (105) with a steady salary of $7.8 million.
Why would Dan Uggla reject the Marlins offer? For starters, Dan Uggla has essentially raised the bar on power hitting second basemen by hitting 30 home runs in four consecutive seasons, no second baseman has done that in the history of baseball, not even Chase Utley or Jeff Kent have accomplished that feat.
The Florida Marlins are also hesitant to offer a long-term deal to a player whose production might begin to decline. Dan Uggla will be 31 by Opening Day and if he gets his way will be 36 by the end of the five year deal, something the Marlins want to avoid considering Uggla isn't great with the glove at second. Uggla is expected to earn $10 million + in 2011 and gradually rise for the next few seasons of his contract.
While these contract talks are akin to the Josh Johnson fiasco of the last offseason, Johnson is four years younger than Uggla at 26 and the Marlins are tend to shy away from offering long-term deals to players who are over 30.
At the end of the day, I expect the Marlins to get a deal done with Dan Uggla just because this is the last thing the front office needs a season prior to the opening of their new stadium, bad publicity and another infamous jettison of a cornerstone player, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis are prime examples.
If a deal gets done, expect for the fifth-year to include somewhere in the neighborhood of a mutual option or a vesting option which would give Uggla his dough if he achieves certain seasonal milestones.
But what if nothing gets done? Here are five possible trade destinations for Dan Uggla if the Marlins deem Uggla out of their range..
Recently hired Mets general manager Sandy Alderson might be looking to make a splash in order to show the fanbase and media that he means business. The New York Mets are in a difficult position to make a deal because of a boatload of bad contracts and Uggla carries yet another risk ala Jason Bay. While Uggla has shown his power with the Marlins, Jason Bay showed why the past means nothing at Citi Field.
The Mets would have offer a five year deal and they'd have to part with Jenrry Mejia and Josh Thole as trade pieces to the Marlins who are in need of a stronger bullpen and starting catcher.
Winning the World Series may move the Giants down the list of suitors for Dan Uggla but who are they to rely on with the bat in 2011? Aubrey Huff? Pablo Sandoval? Pat Burrell? Cody Ross? The playoffs have brought out the best in these players but the regular season is 162 games and all players can't be expected to performance the same like 2010. Sandoval has lost his luster and Burrell might not be back in 2011.
You can bet that former teammate Cody Ross will push for the Giants to trade for Dan Uggla to keep the Giants a balanced team with postseason aspirations year in and year out.
What will it take to land Dan Uggla? The Marlins front office will eye Madison Bumgarner in a one for one but fail to land him simply because Bumgarner has the potential to be a front-line starter on any starting staff. In the end, the Marlins would have to settle for Jonathan Sanchez, a left-handed pitcher who would even out the starting rotation for the Marlins that currently is dominated by righties.
Consider this, David Ortiz might not be around in 2012, Adrian Beltre is currently a free agent and Dustin Pedoria and Kevin Youkilis were both nagged by injuries this past season. Dan Uggla would seem to fit the profile for the Boston Red Sox as their designated hitter of the post-Ortiz era and third baseman in 2011 if they don't bring Beltre back too which I'd doubt if Uggla is a Red Sox.
The Red Sox would have more of the minor league prospects than any other team in a possible Dan Uggla trade sweepstakes. Don't be surprised if the Marlins command Jose Iglesias, a potential Gold Glove shortstop who can take over at the position over Hanley Ramirez who could move to second or third or perhaps centerfield. Jacoby Ellsbury is another possibility but Cameron Maybin figures to be the teams' starting centerfielder in 2011.
The Los Angeles Angels are in need of an offensive splash after electing to let Vladimir Guerrero and Mark Teixeria go in recent years. Currently, Howie Kendrick mans the position but the Angels could choose to move Uggla to third or DH.
The Angels are an interesting fit because they would have the pieces the Marlins are looking for, primarily in the catching department. Local South Florida product Mike Napoli is expendable considering Hank Conger is the catcher of the future. Napoli, like Uggla is a power hitter and would make up for the loss of Uggla's bat at a position where power is also hard to come by.
Another trade asset is minor league pitcher Garrett Richards who pitched in high class A last season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are in need of a serious power boost this offseason considering they don't have Manny Ramirez anymore. The Dodgers ranked 27th in the Major Leagues in home runs (120), only Oakland, Seattle, and Houston were worse.
The Dodgers are going into 2011 with veterans Ryan Theriot and Jamey Carroll at second and combined the pair have 28 career home runs versus Dan Uggla's 33 long bombs this past season.
Trade possibilities include catcher Russell Martin who has struggled with his bat the past couple of seasons but a change in scenery could help and James Loney even though the Marlins aren't in need of a first baseman.