As you may already know, the Marlins have traded Dan Uggla to the Braves for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn.
I have to say I’m a little surprised at how little the Braves had to part with in order to obtain perhaps the best offensive second baseman in the National League. Sure, his glove leaves a lot to be desired, but Uggla’s bat fits right into the middle of any MLB lineup — and all the Braves had to give up was a utility man and a middle reliever?
As a result of the deal, the Braves immediately bolster an offense that was lackluster for most of 2010. Uggla steps in as the second baseman, and Infante’s clone Martin Prado moves from 2B to 3B to start in the 80 – 100 games Chipper Jones is likely to miss due to one ailment or another.
Meanwhile, with the addition of Dunn, the Fish add another young wild lefthander to the bullpen. Dunn impressed last year with a blazing fastball and 27 strikeouts in only 19 innings — though, he also walked 17. Prado had a career year, hitting .321 in 134 games and earning an All-Star appearance. He figures to step into the void at second base, though he’s unlikely to replace Uggla’s bat in the lineup.
I get that this trade was about economics, and that Uggla is potentially a one-year rental, but I still don’t get how the Marlins didn’t hold out for more in return from another club, why they sent Uggla to a division rival, and why they felt it necessary to pull the trigger so quickly.
On the one hand, the deal likely increases the separation between the Mets and Braves in 2011, while it may help the Mets stay even with, or finish ahead of, the Marlins next year. Though, the deal has also created space in Florida’s payroll, which has already resulted in the signing of slugging catcher John Buck to a 3-year, $18M deal, and may also lead them to lock up righthander Ricky Nolasco on a long-term deal. Buck and Infante together in 2011 may be as productive — overall — as Uggla and catcher Ronny Paulino were in 2010. If Infante proves last year wasn’t a fluke, the combination may be better — particularly when you factor in defense. Either way, the trade doesn’t do anything to help the Mets’ chances in 2011.