So now that the dust is settling on the Dan Uggla trade, we’ve come to learn two basic things:
- The Marlins did make a very fair offer to Uggla and his representatives. They opted to take their chances elsewhere, looking to get a 5 year deal at around $70+M. Marlins offered 4 years at $48M. Kind of reminds one of the Pudge Rodriguez exit, eh?
- Marlins brass want to be a better baseball team – not provide highlights. Loria has already bemoaned publicly the fact that the bullpen cost the Marlins 27 wins (27 losses after the 7th inning). Beinfest, although admitting Uggla’s talent isn’t easily replaced, stressed that they needed to shore up the defense and find an offense that will move runners. “To replace the home runs, I’m not sure you’re going to replace 30. But is that really our objective? Our objective, really when you think about it, is let’s get guys on base and let Hanley [Ramirez] and [Mike] Stanton and [Logan Morrison] and those guys knock them in. It’s a little bit different because we’ve really wailed the last few years. We hit a lot of home runs in the last four to five years, and this will be a little bit of a different look for us.”
Given this context, does the Marlins’ trade of Uggla now make more sense? Yes. In return the Marlins get Omar Infante, who improves over Uggla in defense, speed, and in making contact. Also, with the acquisition of Mike Dunn, the Marlins shore up their bullpen by getting another lefty arm in there to provide more depth.
The Marlins have also now added catcher John Buck who, like Omar Infante, found his way onto the all star team last season. Given the fact that the Marlins were going to spend $48M on Uggla, and they have inked Buck to a 3 year, $18M deal, the Fish now have $30M to spend.
With better defense, more speed, and putting the ball in play a bit more the Marlins are already making a movement in the direction they intended to go. They also are going to tinker with the idea of bringing along prospect Matt Dominguez to play 3B – who is expected to be a defensive improvement as well – and also by inserting a healthy Chris Coghlan into CF. Once again, defense improves, contact improves.
Rounding out the roster for position players looks pretty promising. Logan Morrison would stay in LF, Mike Stanton in RF, Gaby Sanchez at 1B, Hanley Ramirez anchors SS. Those are four young, but very good hitters to help drive in runs while Coghlan, Infante, and Dominguez can help set the table.
What about the bullpen? As mentioned earlier, the bullpen ranked 9th in ERA needs a makeover. Brian Sanches, Clay Hensley, and Leo Nunez are returning but recent trades have helped, too. The Marlins dealt Andrew Miller for Dustin Richardson from the Red Sox. The 26 year old lefty is expected to help provide depth, but also has pretty solid upside considering the failed attempt to get Miller going.
Also as a result from the now busted Miguel Cabrera deal with the Tigers (a deal which also included Dontrelle Willis), Cameron Maybin was sent to the Padres for two more arms right-handers Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb. Webb is 6’6″ and provides some interesting upside, which is the name of the game when you are dealing away busted prospects.
What emerges is a better baseball team. The Marlins are looking to get back to basics – play sound fundamental baseball with the ability to stay in games but also hold a lead. The biggest problem for this team the past few years has been the inability to consistently put the ball in play. By cutting down on their strikeouts, and increasing the ability to make contact, the Marlins have a better chance at staying in games. In shoring up the bullpen, the Marlins also sustain a better chance of holding a lead and finishing out games with a win.