Will the Mets Get Dan Uggla?
So far, it’s mostly Fish frying on the Hot Stove, as the Marlins have been the busiest team in terms of transactions. In the past week, Florida has made two deals, first sending 6’7″ Andrew Miller to the Red Sox for 6’6″ Dustin Richardson in a swap of lefty relievers, then trading centerfield enigma Cameron Maybin to the Padres for righthanded relievers Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb. Rumor has it, the Fish aren’t finished, and will continue to wheel and deal throughout the winter.
Top on the list of trade bait is slugging second baseman Dan Uggla, who turned down a contract extension and now being shopped. Considering the Mets’ second base situation and the Moneyball braintrust of Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi, and Paul DePodesta, it’s natural to wonder whether the Mets will get in on the bidding for Uggla.
While I’d love to see the hard-nosed second sacker in a Mets uniform, I’m not sure how it can happen. Uggla is coming off the best season of his career — 33 HR, 105 RBI, .287 AVG, .877 OPS (all career highs). Based on his performance over the past four years, one could argue that Uggla is the best offensive second baseman in the National League. He would immediately change the face of the Mets lineup and erase any doubt about who will be Jose Reyes’ double-play partner.
However, do the Mets have the chips for the Fish, and, further, do they want to give them up for a player who will be 31 by Opening Day?
If the Mets were serious about contending — rather than rebuilding — in 2011, then such a trade (if possible) is a no-brainer. But from all reports, General Alderson is focused on 2013 and beyond — at which point Uggla will be approaching his mid-30s. In a league devoid of PEDs, bat speed tends to slow down for many players around that age, while their salaries tend to rise. Without his power, Dan Uggla doesn’t have much value to a club — particularly one that plays in a cavernous ballpark. Though, it’s absolutely possible that Uggla keeps up his production as he ages, and he could be an above-average hitter into his late thirties — one never knows.
Let’s assume that Uggla is worth acquiring and signing to a 4- or 5-year contract; who do the Mets have to trade for him? The Marlins seem intent on shoring up their bullpen, having already added three pieces. But they appear to be building with youth and long-term efficiency, so an expensive veteran closer like Francisco Rodriguez wouldn’t seem to be what they seek. More likely, it would take a few young arms and one or two position players to get the deal done — maybe a group that includes Bobby Parnell, Fernando Martinez, and I’m not sure who else, since the Mets don’t have much in the way of MLB-ready or near-ready youngsters that excite other clubs. I know Mets fans think Lucas Duda is the second coming of Adam Dunn and Kirk Nieuwenhuis is going to be an All-Star centerfielder but that sentiment is not held outside of Flushing. I’m not saying a deal can’t be made, I’m just saying I have no idea who in the Mets organization the Marlins would value — nor am I sure of their needs.
What do you think? If the Mets can put together a package for Dan Uggla, should they do it? If so, what players should or shouldn’t be in the deal?