ESPN announced Tuesday that the Atlanta Braves have acquired three-time All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla from the Florida Marlins for utilityman Omar Infante and pitcher Mike Dunn.
Uggla had not signed a contract extension with the Marlins and a trade was inevitable. The Marlins wanted to get rid of Uggla after not coming to an agreement on a long-term contract extension. Uggla made $7.8 million last season, and is set to become a free agent after next season.
The arrival of Uggla is quite the insurance policy for the Braves. Uggla can play almost every infield position, but Braves general manager said that Uggla will play at second base. However, we could see him play different positions in case long-time Brave Chipper Jones suffers an injury at third base—or if rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman struggles to live up to expectations.
Wren said of Uggla, “We’re satisfied he’s here for one year. He’s a kind of guy we’d like to make long-term.”
The general manager would then go on to say, “For several years now, we’ve been looking for a right-handed bat in our lineup, a legit 30-home run guy, and Dan gives us that. It gives us more balance, that one focal point in the middle.”
According to reports, the Marlins organization offered Uggla a three year, $24 million contract. Uggla declined and counter-offered with a five-year, $71 million contract. The Marlins declined, thus leading to the trade on Tuesday. A source said that the Marlins upped their offer to a four year, $48 million offer, but Uggla still remained negative.
Fox Sports reported that Uggla had also drawn interest from the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Nationals, and Giants. The Tigers were also reportedly interested in the second baseman.
Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said, “It’s sad to see him go, but we’re happy with the people we got back. I really think that we put our best foot forward and tried to keep him as a Marlin, and it didn’t work out.”
“There could be a little downturn in the power, but it’s a different look now for the Marlins to get the high average, high on-base guy,” Beinfest continued. “And then hopefully the guys in the middle, Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton, can drive those guys in.”
Uggla is now re-united with manager Fredi Gonzalez, who the Marlins fired in June. Gonzalez was hired by the Braves last month as the heir apparent to Braves long-time manager Bobby Cox.
The Marlins have been rather busy this offseason and can be considered the most willing team to “wheel and deal.”
Florida was busy last week as they dealt outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Padres for two relievers, and also traded pitcher Andrew Miller to the Red Sox for reliever Dustin Richardson. However, both players were quintessential pieces in the Dontrelle Willis trade that sent him to the Detroit Tigers in 2007. It appears that the Marlins have given up on their two prospects, but a change of scenery may be good for both players.
The Marlins have also agreed to terms on a contract with catcher John Buck—sources say the deal is three years and worth $18 million (Some reports also state that the deal is worth $20 million). Buck had a breakout year with the Blue Jays last season—he batted .281 and hit 20 home runs, along with 66 RBI.
Over five seasons in Florida, Uggla hit 154 home runs and is the Marlins’ all-time leader in that category. He has been elected to the annual All-Star game three times and won his first Silver Slugger award this season. He batted .287 last season and hit 33 home runs, along with 105 RBI, both career highs.
Omar Infante, the newest Marlin, made his first All-Star team last season and hit a career-high .321. He also hit eight home runs, along with 47 RBIs.
Infante is expected to fill Uggla’s shoes at second base, and like Uggla, he can play practically every infield position.
Mike Dunn, a rookie last season, went 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in 25 games. The left-hander is expected to immediately bolster the Marlins’ pitching staff.