This week at Talking Chop we're going to take a look at the Braves second basemen, so why not kick that off by kicking the tires on a potential trade for a second baseman. Ken Rosenthal lists the Braves as a potential destination for the Marlins to trade Dan Uggla:
Fredi Gonzalez, previously with the Marlins, is the Braves' new manager. The Braves in the past have viewed Uggla as an option at third. They currently are unsettled at the position with Chipper Jones attempting a comeback from major knee surgery.
Of all the teams potentially involved in any Uggla trade discussions, the Braves should know the most about him. They've watched him for years in the division and Gonzalez managed him for the past few years. I had thought that the Braves might aggressively pursue Uggla last year when Chipper Jones went down, but the Marlins were still pretending to be in the playoff hunt, and nothing ever materialized.
Uggla could be a good fit for Atlanta, and great protection against the inability of Chipper Jones to return to the lineup or play every day. Ugla's .877 OPS is higher than anyone in a Braves uniform posted last year, and he's proven that he can hit 30 home runs year after year. The Braves haven't had anyone hit 30 home runs since 2005.
The negatives with Uggla are there too. He's a guy who strikes out a lot with his big swing. He's got a bit of an iron glove at second base, though it's not as bad as Brooks Conrad. He's in his final year of arbitration and can become a free agent after the 2011 season, so he would cost plenty in 2011 (somewhere North of $10 million) and he could walk away after only one season. The Marlins will likely have several suitors for Uggla's services, so the price in prospects could be high, but there have been mentions of them trying to trade Uggla in the past without much success. That could mean there's a lack of interest, but it's more likely to mean that the Marlins are asking for a lot in return.
I'd be slightly more than okay with the Braves acquiring Uggla. I fear though that Atlanta would have to give up too much to get him, and then he'd walk away after just one year. If I'm the Braves I test the water on Uggla, but I wouldn't rush anything. If he's still around later in the off-season, hopefully the price for him has dropped to an acceptable level.
The Braves could potentially have a logjam in the infield if they were to acquire Uggla, and neither Uggla nor Martin Prado have played the outfield. While Uggla is an interesting option, the Braves would probably be best to pass on him and focus on an outfielder, with Omar Infante serving as Chipper insurance.