Talks for a long term engagement with newly minted Silver Slugger Dan Uggla are at a impasse and the Marlins, who have recently traded two former Top 10 picks (Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller), key pieces of the disastrous Miguel Cabrera deal, have suddenly become trigger happy in the trade market.
Those deals have helped shore up the bullpen with three arms but have left a hole in centerfield and there still remains a need a catcher.
According to FOXSports, the Marlins have had discussions with the Detroit Tigers regarding the power-hitting second baseman.
The Florida Marlins are not confident they will sign Uggla because of his insistence to add a fifth year to the contract. Uggla recently turned down a four-year, $48 million offer. Uggla made $7.8 million this year and is eligible for salary arbitration for a final time before qualifying for free agency after the 2011 season.
If the Marlins seriously pursue a Dan Uggla trade, they will look to shore up at the bullpen, catcher and/or centerfield If Uggla is indeed traded, Chris Coghlan is likely to slide to second base with former first-round draft pick Matt Dominguez getting a long look a third base in Spring Training. Emilio Bonfacio is another candidate to start at second or third if Dominguez isn't ready.
Here are five beneficial trades the Marlins could potentially pull off that will help shore up their weak spots:
This trade with the St. Louis Cardinals ends up supplementing for the Cameron Maybin disappointment and the recent trade to the San Diego Padres. Colby Rasmus reportedly had requested a trade during the season and had a rift with Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa.
Rasmus would add speed while not giving up much power in the lineup. Rasmus becomes eligible for arbitration next offseason and is earning just under $500,000, well within the Marlins budget.
Adding Uggla gives the Cardinals a 1-2-3 punch with Pujols, Holliday and Uggla and duplicates the once feared lineup of the Philadelphia Philles (Howard, Utley and Werth).
For comparison, here is the statistics of both players last season, it may seem like a overwhelming difference, but Rasmus is 24 and has yet to reach his prime while Uggla, 30, is in his prime:
Dan Uggla: .287, 33 HRs, 105 RBIs, four stolen bases (159 games)
Colby Rasmus: .276, 23 HRs, 66 RBIs, 12 stolen bases (144 games)
The Boston Red Sox are in danger of losing Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez in free agency while inheriting an older David Ortiz who is entering the final year of his contract. Acquiring Dan Uggla makes a lot of sense for them considering Uggla can play third base and perhaps be a DH in a post-Ortiz era.
For the Marlins, acquiring Ellsbury might be a bit of risk considering his injury-riddled 2010 season where he hit .192 in 78 at-bats (18 games). On a better note, Ellsbury might remind fans of Juan Pierre with his speed, he stole 70 bases in 2009 and 50 bases in 2008. Between 2008 and 2009, Ellsbury hit 17 home runs, 107 RBIs and 17 triples.
This trade would also make the ballclub rely more on small ball and speed with Ellsbury. Along with Chris Coghlan and Logan Morrison, they show similarities of a spark plug player minus the speed.
Jacoby Ellsbury is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason but would figure to earn in the neighborhood of $2-4 million considering his injury-riddled 2010 campaign.
The San Francisco Giants would desire a power hitter in order to keep their lineup stable alongside the rotation.
Jonathan Sanchez would give the Marlins an established starting rotation which would rival many in the National League and perhaps make it just as good as the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants.
In 2010, Sanchez went 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA and averaged 9.5 strikeouts every nine innings pitched.
The disadvantage of a trade like this is while improving the rotation, the Marlins would be left with holes in centerfield and catcher that will have to be filled internally or by signing a veteran stopgap.
The Marlins would also be looking at a decline in power unless the ballclub gets a collective improvement that includes Mike Stanton having a tremendous sophomore campaign and Hanley Ramirez improving from a lackluster 2010 season.
I've talked about the potential of this deal working out for both sides. Napoli is a local product having been born in Hollywood, Florida and having attended Charles Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, FL.
Napoli would become the starting catcher for the Marlins perhaps sharing time with John Baker when he is ready in a lefty-righty platoon role.
Napoli hit 26 home runs and drove in 68 runs last season in 140 games for the Los Angeles Angels. Napoli, who is arbitration eligible, would earn around $5 million in 2011 but still be around half the salary Uggla will earn next season.
This trade would open the door for Hank Conger to nab the catcher role in Los Angeles over Napoli, and Uggla would give Arte Moreno his big splashing power hitter that he has desired, given the losses of Vladimir Guerrero and Mark Teixeria.
Out of the previous deals, this one is less likely to happen because the sense of urgency isn't quite there for the Chicago Cubs to pull off a deal like this. The Chicago Cubs would lose their everyday starting catcher but gain an everyday starting second baseman with power, reminding fans of a Ryne Sandberg.
The Cubs might want to get a trade like this done because Soto did struggle in 2009, hitting .208 in 102 games perhaps wanting to avoid a recurring theme. However in 2010, Soto had a resurgence, hitting .280 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 105 games played.
Aramis Ramirez is entering the final year of his deal, and this raises the sense of urgency for the Cubs to perhaps get the future third baseman.
Soto is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason and would figure to earn anywhere from $3-5 million, within the Marlins budget comfort zone.