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Uggla to the Braves? Would you believe Damon or Swisher?

Dec 21, 2009, 1:20 PM EDT

Ken Rosenthal ponders some possibilities for the Atlanta Braves, who are in the market for a corner outfielder.

First up: Dan Uggla, who could maybe be converted from second base.
Rosenthal says the Braves and Marlins have discussed it, that Atlanta’s
interest is only “mild,” and notes the difficulty involved with making
Uggla a left fielder. As in, he doesn’t want to be one.

Rosenthal suggests that the Braves could bring him in as a second
baseman and hope that Uggla realizes during spring training that he’s
not as good at second as Martin Prado is.  That would work if (a) Bobby
Cox had a second’s patience for that kind of nonsense, which he
doesn’t; (b) Cox doesn’t worship the ground Martin Prado walks on,
which he does; and (c) Dan Uggla was unlike almost every other player
in baseball history and really and truly wanted to be moved off of the
position at which he broke into the bigs.  Rosenthal, essentially
acknowledging the problems here, says that the Braves could ask
permission to talk to Uggla about a move before doing a deal. 

I’m not
going to hold my breath. The Braves have
gone down the convert-an-infielder-to-left path before with both
Chipper Jones and Kelly Johnson.  Neither Cox nor the players involved
liked that very much, so I don’t see them doing it for Dan Uggla, who
is a less-athletic version of both Jones and Johnson.

Outside of Uggla, Rosenthal wonders about Atlanta signing Johnny Damon or trading for Nick Swisher.

I could see Damon working if and only if he is in full
winter-2008-Bobby-Abreu mode as spring approaches and is willing to do
a one-year, sub-$10 million deal. And actually, the Braves would think
anything north of $6 million would be high.  Ultimately, while I think
that Damon has kind of screwed himself this offseason, I don’t think
he’ll end up being that desperate.

Swisher makes far less sense, in that I can’t see the Yankees taking
Derek Lowe for him, and Lowe is about the only player the Braves have
talked about shopping this year. Maybe they’d shop Javier Vazquez, but
the Yankees have been there and done that and probably don’t want him
back.  New York seems far more inclined to look at guys like Justin
Duchscherer and Ben Sheets than they are to take on a guy owed $45
million bucks over the next three years, and they’re wise to be so

So it’s all fun talk — the stuff the hot stove is made of, even — but
I’d be pretty surprised if we see any of these guys wearing the
tomahawk next season.

  1. TigerS Boy ToY - Dec 21, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    Craig, are you craZy, why would the Yankees take on Lowes contract, because the Braves realize they made a big ole boo boo BY OUT BIDDING EVERYONE.I HOPE THEY HAVE TO EAT ALL THAT MONEY.

  2. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Dec 21, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    ah yes, the Yanks should trade an extremely productive right fielder who’s currently under contract for about $15M/2year with a $1M buyout or ($10M option) in year 3, for someone else’s headache.
    Who does Rosenthal think is running the Yanks, Kenny Williams?

  3. themarksmith - Dec 21, 2009 at 3:04 PM

    The one aspect of the Uggla rumors that Rosenthal overlooks is what position Prado played a lot of last year — first base. The Braves could get Uggla and move Prado to first. Now, I’m not saying it’s a good idea, and it probably worsens an already bad infield defense. But one of the things I love about Bobby is his mix of hard-line traditionalism (righty-righty and lefty-lefty matchups at every opportunity), creativity (Infante batting clean-up a few times late in 2008), and loyalty (Jeff Francoeur). None of these things, of course, make the team better, but it doesn’t mean he won’t do it.

  4. Chipper Murphy - Dec 21, 2009 at 6:14 PM

    Braves should try to work a deal with the O’s that sends Lowe and Vasquez to Baltimore. I would rather have Brian Roberts at 2B and move Prado to first or try to sweeten the deal by sendingVasquez, Lowe, and Prado and Diaz for say, Roberts, Guthrie, Luke Scott and Wiggington. That would free some cash for free agent dollars.

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