Uggla Travels up I-75

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com broke the news late Tuesday afternoon that the Marlins had traded Dan Uggla to the Braves for lefty reliever Mike Dunn and Omar Infante. The reaction in the twittersphere was immediate and intense, mostly centering on the fact that the Marlins have seemingly cornered the market on relievers with their past few trades.

The return does seem a little light. Infante was an All-Star in name, but a super-utility guy in game: an inflated BABIP masked his utter lack of power or patience. At least his glove plays all over the diamond and he’s under control for a mere $2.5 million in 2011 – he should be worth at least twice that with enough plate appearances. If he spends the year starting at second or third base (depending on where Chris Coghlan ends up), he might even come close to matching the kind of production Uggla has put forth in his down years (2.4 WAR in 2007, 2.8 WAR in 2009). Adding that kind of surplus value to four-plus years of Dunn could be seen as an interesting haul considering that Uggla is only under contract for another year and had publicly scorned the Marlins’ last offer.

But Uggla is a Type-A free agent. If the Marlins had enough space in the budget to fit $12 million in – after all, that scorned deal was worth four years and $48 million – they had enough space to offer Uggla arbitration and receive two compensatory picks. Whether or not those two picks could have netted a utility infielder and a left-handed reliever worthy of playing in the major leagues is a topic for speculation at this point, but surely the upside of those picks would have reached beyond Dunn and Infante’s upside.

Getting a three-to-five WAR second baseman for about 80% of the cost on a one-year deal – in the waning years of Chipper Jones‘ career – makes too much sense for the Atlanta Braves, who seem a few good moves from World Series contention. Now the team can avoid the scrum for outfield upgrades, and they didn’t really have the money to jump in on Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford anyway. They can find a backup shortstop on the market or in their own system – and with Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty, they had a surplus in lefty relievers.

The only question for the Braves is what they will do once Chipper returns. He has a stated goal of returning for spring training, and if he achieves that goal, the team would have five viable infielders. The plan could be to return Martin Prado to his super-utility role, which works as long as he makes some starts in the outfield and doesn’t spend much time on the bench. Having two good third baseman is a blessing on most teams, and a need on a Chipper Jones team. If the team had more outfielders, Freddie Freeman might find himself in the minor leagues another year, but it’s much more likely that Prado shags some flyballs in the corner outfield next spring.

We hoped you liked reading Uggla Travels up I-75 by Eno Sarris!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

newest oldest most voted
Joltin' Joe
Guest

I take it you’re not from the East Coast… it’s just 95 here 🙂

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

And it goes nowhere near Atlanta. I-75 is the one he hopped up.

Joel
Guest
Joel

The title of the article is a little weak in my opinion since you could use the same title anytime the Tigers, Reds, Braves, Rays, or Marlins engage in a trade which happens several times a year.

greg
Guest
greg

I-75 runs north from hialeah (miami) through Atlanta all the way to Michigan. I-95 runs up the east coast of florida and georgia (nowhere near atlanta) and continues north through maine.

I-75 was the correct highway.

Heat84
Guest
Heat84

Alligator Alley is I-75 which connects the main I-75 to the East coast of Florida. So yes, I-75 is correct.

Back on topic: What a colossal screw-up by the Marlins.