Dan Uggla: I'm Pretty Sold on Him

Adam IntwinslandContributor IDecember 3, 2008

Dan Uggla is the complete anti-Twin: He's a godawful fielder, is slow, strikes out a ton, and probably can't execute a sac bunt or a hit and run to save his life.

On the other hand, consider the following facts:

He would drastically more than make up for the runs he allows with his shitty defense with his offense, some stats from last season were a VORP of 41.3 (not sure but I'd wager that that's the best for a 2B in the league) a line of .260/.360/.514 for an OPS of 874 (playing in a pitcher's park... his road line was .296/.387/.573 for a .960 road OPS).

The Marlins appear to be in one of their periodic complete fire-sales of their teams, and Uggla is very likely on the block for the following reasons: He becomes arb. eligible next year, meaning his salary will probably at least increase by a factor of 10 from $417k to somewhere in the $4-7 million range.

(Guessing, Orlando Hudson's first arb. year salary was $2.3 mil in 2006 but his numbers weren't as good as Uggla's) and the Marlins' have an MLB-ready 2B already on their team at the league minimum in Robert Andino (he's not great, but he projects to be about average.)

Furthermore, judging from the fact that the Marlins locked up Hanley basically forever but traded away Willingham (18.4 VORP in 416 PA) and Olsen (20.7 VORP in a full season) to the Nats for a AAA 2B and two A-ball players (a SS and a pitcher) as well as Mike Jacobs (17.1 VORP in 519 PA) for a cost-controlled reliever it looks like their M.O. this season (as it has been in several previous seasons) is to dump payroll and hoard prospects.

Judging by the talent they've already traded away and what they've gotten back, they don't look to be in contention for a playoff spot in a very competitive N.L. East next year and therefore getting three arb. years of Uggla who is relatively expensive for the Marlins doesn't seem to make sense.

My conclusion is that for the right package of lower level, but high-ceiling prospects, Uggla could be ours for the taking; not that many teams need 2B this year...Teams that are going to address their needs by FA appear likely to be the Mets (I think they will sign Hudson) and then the Dodgers, Padres and D-Backs are all going to need to get 2B.

One of them will likely sign Grudzielanek, and another could possibly sign Ray Durham or some of the lower tier FA 2B like Loretta, possibly Kent if he doesn't retire, Cora, Iguchi, Easley or (this would be funny) Nick Puta.

In terms of teams that have redundancies in terms of high-ceiling talent at lower levels of the minors, I think the Twins rate relatively high. After drafting Aaron Hicks and having Gomez and Span already fighting for the CF position at the majors, I think that makes Ben Revere expendable.

Similarly, a glut of AA and AAA pitchers like Mulvey, Duensing, Swarzak as well as lower level high-ceiling prospects like Carlos Gutierrez, Deolis Guerra, Bradley Tippet and Shooter Hunt (best name for a pitcher ever, BTW) mean that we have plenty of trade bait to dangle in front of them.

I understand that you can't just add up the VORP given away in a trade and expect a similar package will work if you get one player whose VORP equals two players who were traded away, but the Nats really gave up a load of junk for Willingham and Olsen who are two valuable young players who the Marlins didn't want to pay arb. year money for.

I think the same must be true for Uggla.

I can't imagine that a four-for-one trade centered around Revere and including some lower tier prospects (take your pick of Hunt, Gutierrez, Guerra, Tippet, Parmelee) would not get it done, especially if you'd be willing to replace one of the A-ball pitchers w/a guy like Swarzak.

I can't see a trade like that as mortgaging the Twins' future, since the Twins would still have a bunch of near MLB-ready pitchers blocked by starters they didn't trade, they could replenish high-ceiling young pitchers in June (use the first round pick on a stud out of high school and the sandwich pick on a college pitcher or something like that).

And despite Uggla's flaws, the fact that he slugged .514, hit 32 HR (including 15 in Miami) and draws quite a few walks in addition to a ton of strikeouts all make me think that he could be the impact bat we need.

If he were acquired, he'd be controllable for three years at relatively cheap costs for a player of his talent, could be acquired without substantially altering the make-up of the MLB team, and would also solve the SS problem by allowing us to shift Casilla to SS (where he spent about an equal amount of time as at 2B in the minors).

Thinking about Uggla hitting between Mauer and Morneau is giving me a hard-on and I'm at work, so I'll leave it at that.