Dan Uggla Dan Uggla

Dan Uggla is a Fit for the Tigers, but Only for the Right Price


When word came out yesterday night that the Tigers may be interested in acquiring Dan Uggla from the Florida Marlins, I became both very excited and very nervous. Here’s what MLB Trad Rumors had to say on the potential deal:

"Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com report that the Tigers have contacted Florida about Uggla.  Though Detroit’s primary need is for a left-handed batter, the right-handed hitting Uggla provides a big upgrade over the Tigers’ current second base options of Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes."

The exciting part is that Uggla would definitely improve the offense. His 0.359 career wOBA is well above average for any player, let alone a second baseman, and it’s well above anything Will Rhymes could do. Really, it’s above any of the wildest expectations the organization ever held (or still holds) for Scott Sizemore. He was supposed to be a second baseman with good hitting abilities, but I don’t think anyone ever expected his bat to equal Dan Uggla‘s. Second base isn’t a position of glaring need, but it’s definitely one where a bigger bat could help.

The extremely scary part of the situation is that he’s one of, if not the single, worst fielding second baseman Majors. The idea of Jhonny Peralta and Uggla making up the middle infield defense makes me want to run and hide. This is not a pitcher’s dream. But even taking his below-average fielding abilities into account, Dan Uggla would be a nice addition to the team. The Tigers got a total of 1.5 WAR out of their second basemen in 2010. Uggla’s 2011 WAR could be expected to be in the 3.5-4.5 range.

So for me, the issue becomes the cost of the acquisition. Uggla’s coming into his third year of arbitration eligibility, and he made $7.8 million last year, so his contract wont be an issue. Even if he earned a couple million dollar raise (just throwing out numbers here) his salary would still be reasonable. The only hang up would be the asking price from the Marlins; how many prospects do they want?

Uggla’s due for free agency following the 2011 season, so unless there is an extension involved, we’re talking about a one year rental. I would hate to see any of the top prospects (Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver, etc.) go for such a player. If the Marlins would require such a player to be included, Dave Dombrowski should thank them for their time and politely hang up the phone.