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Fake trade: Dan Uggla to Rays for B.J. Upton, Jason Bartlett

Nov 14, 2010, 2:30 PM EDT

B.J. Upton

The following scenario is completely hypothetical and should not be taken as an actual rumor, much less a completed deal.

Rays acquire second baseman Dan Uggla from the Marlins for outfielder B.J. Upton and shortstop Jason Bartlett.

Why it works for Tampa Bay: The Rays finished third in the AL in runs scored last season, but the team was sixth in homers and eighth in slugging percentage.   With Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena both potentially leaving in free agency, the team needs to add some power and Uggla hit five more homers last season than anyone on the Rays.  He has four straight 30-homer seasons to his credit.  Top prospect Desmond Jennings and Reid Brignac can replace Upton and Bartlett, respectively.

Why it works for Florida: The Marlins don’t need to save money in an Uggla deal.  In all likelihood, they’d get trouble in with the MLBPA again if they didn’t spend Uggla’s money elsewhere.  Upton and Bartlett combined to make $7 million last year, while Uggla came in at $7.8 million.  Both newcomers would be due raises in arbitration, but not major ones after down years.  Upton would give the team a high-upside center fielder to replace the one they just parted with Saturday.  Bartlett could step in at second base for a year and potentially provide a big upgrade on defense.

Why it won’t happen: While I like the idea of Upton for Florida, Bartlett probably isn’t worth his $4 million-$5 million salary, particularly if he’s not playing shortstop.   The deal would look a lot better for the Marlins with Brignac included instead, but that’d be too much for the Rays to give up for one year of Uggla, particuarly when Uggla is going to making $10 millon-$12 million and eating up a good portion of the team’s financial flexibility.

  1. Charles Gates - Nov 14, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Matthew, thanks. These are fun reads.
    The Rays front office mentioned payroll constraints, which to your point makes the Uggla salary a burden, but if they think they can still compete in the AL East sans Crawford/Pena, it might be tempting to replace some offensive production.

  2. Jonny 5 - Nov 15, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    But it goes against the whole “saving money” thing the Rays mentioned they must go through… I mean ball clubs never do things like, say one thing, then do the complete opposite. Ever…..

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