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Stubborn Uggla doesn't want to budge

Nov 13, 2009, 6:20 PM EDT

While it seems as though most of his suitors view him as a third baseman or outfielder, Dan Uggla isn’t interested in moving off second base, his agent told Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown.

“Danny Uggla’s been a full-time second baseman for the last four years,” agent Jeff Borris said. “He’s performed exceptionally well at that position. Although he has the athleticism to play other positions, he’s performed remarkably over these four years at second base and there should be no reason to consider a position change at this time.”

Of course, Uggla is pretty much universally regarded as a below average second baseman. UZR has actually rated him above average in two of his four seasons, but it had him at -10 runs last season. Luis Castillo was the only full-time second baseman to grade out worse. Overall, UZR has him three runs below average per year. Uggla commits more errors than the typical second baseman, and he’s simply not very fast. He is surprisingly strong on double plays, but he’s only going to get slower as he ages.
Money is the big reason most players resist moves to easier positions, but Uggla has little to lose here. He’s still two years away from free agency, and by the time 2012 rolls around, it’s doubtful that any team is going to give him a long-term contract to start second base. He’d almost surely be better off if he’s settled in at third or in left field by then.
There’s also the fact that second basemen, generally, don’t make a lot of money. Bret Boone (remember him?) was the last free agent second baseman to land a contract worth more than $25 million. Castillo got $25 million from the Mets two years ago, and the team regretted the signing before the ink was even dry. Chase Utley and Brian Roberts are the only second basemen currently making more than approx. $7.5 million that Uggla figures to earn in arbitration next year. Second basemen tend to be plentiful and cheap in free agency. They also often age badly. Many will likely see Uggla as a poor investment as a second baseman in two years.
Uggla has been connected with the Giants and Orioles as a possibility at third and the Braves and Red Sox as a left fielder. No one, though, has been talking about picking him up to play second base. The 29-year-old might as well take the hint.

  1. Old Gator - Nov 13, 2009 at 7:23 PM

    That, and Uggla has a big mouth and, apparently, an inferiority complex to drive it.
    Last season he infamously called out Hanley Ramirez for “not wanting to win very badly” over an injury that sidelined him late in the season – when Hanley was battling a measely 110 points higher than Uggla, and the real problem was that the Marlins’ so-called relief pitchers were starting Santa Ana style conflagrations every time they ran out to the mound. I don’t know why Uggla didn’t go pick on someone who was batting 110 points lower than the .250-ish he was clocking in.
    Also, Dan – potent offensive force that he can be when he doesn’t shower – has a tendency to go through long stretches when he imitates windmills, leaving the guys in the six and seven spots to play Sancho Panza to him and the guys in scoring position wondering whether they ought to renew the short-term leases to the respective bases they’re standing on. Looking for advancement? Probably a better idea to bat behind him and let the pitcher bunt you along.

  2. Grant - Nov 13, 2009 at 9:39 PM

    The Orioles have Josh Bell at AAA. He should be a 3Bman. I’d rather they not grab Uggla for a useful player. Go with the young, cheap guy.

  3. IdahoMariner - Nov 14, 2009 at 10:19 PM

    yes, yes I do remember Bret Boone. He rocked, back in the day.

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