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Jays and Uggla seem an unlikely match

Nov 14, 2010, 4:57 PM EDT

Dan Uggla

Not to say it couldn’t work out.   But Buster Olney’s report that the Jays, according to rival executives, have emerged as the favorites to acquire Dan Uggla strikes an odd chord.

The Jays not only led the majors in homers last season, but they did it with a total nearly 20 percent greater than any other team’s.  They hit 257, while the Red Sox came in second with 211.  The Yankees were the only other team to reach 190, finishing with 201.

And, of course, the Jays have a second baseman who ranked as one of the AL’s better players in 2009.   Aaron Hill slumped terribly last season, finishing at .205/.271/.394 in 528 at-bats, but he’s a far better defender than Uggla there’s little to suggest that he’s going to be shipped off this winter.

Now the Jays have weighed shifting Hill to third base, more to give themselves greater flexibility than because of any concerns about his defense.  However, if they did trade for Uggla, one would hope he’d be the one to switch positions.

There’s also the matter of what the Jays would give up.   In theory, the team has a lot of pitching depth.  In practice, Jays pitchers tend to get hurt a lot.  They had 11 pitchers make at least three starts last year and nine in 2010. 

Two names quickly spring to mind as potential key pieces in an Uggla: J.P. Arencibia and Brett Cecil.

Arencibia, the Jays’ first-round pick in 2007, broke through with a big year in Triple-A last season, hitting .301/.359/.626.  He’s lacking in plate discipline and he’s average at best defensively, but he still qualifies as one of the game’s top catching prospects and the Marlins have a big need behind the plate.

Cecil, 24, quietly won 15 games for the Jays last season.  His 4.22 ERA and 117/54 K/BB ratio in 172 2/3 innings were unremarkable, but he was pitching in baseball’s toughest division and he made 13 of his 28 starts against the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees.  Despite his success, the Jays probably value him behind Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum and Brandon Morrow, making him somewhat expendable.

I can’t imagine the Marlins would get both in an Uggla deal, but they’d likely want one of the two and then some additional talent.   Second basemen with 30-homer ability don’t come cheap.

  1. proudlycanadian - Nov 14, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Hill has said that he is willing to move to third base. Arencibia would not be traded. The Jays need a catcher.
    I am sure that they do not want to trade Cecil, but he does rank #4 in their rotation according to their new manager. The Jays did have some success with a 6 man rotation in September after benching Morrow due to innings pitched. They do have some depth at the position.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 14, 2010 at 5:49 PM

      I just noticed that Uggla will be 31 next year. Given his age, the Jays would not trade two promising players off their ML roster for him. A starting pitcher and a double A prospect makes sense to me. Hill is in an interesting position. If he plays well in the spring, the Jays are likely to exercise their option on his services. If he has a poor spring, the Jays have the option of releasing him.

  2. Jonny 5 - Nov 15, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    Ibanez and$$ for Uggla. That’s a trade made in heaven. Ibanez loves Fla. And Loria loves $$.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 15, 2010 at 10:44 AM

      I doubt that God loves the Phillies that much.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 15, 2010 at 11:22 AM

        Well it’s a good thing it’s the devil cooking up trades in the hot stove season then…. Now I don’t think Dan would mind playing LF would he?? I know Ibanez loves hitting home runs in front of his family in FLA. I bet his family could drive up attendance by 15% down there too…. This is looking like a win/win for Loria… 😛

      • proudlycanadian - Nov 15, 2010 at 11:52 AM

        Hope springs eternal in the hot stove league.

    • Old Gator - Nov 15, 2010 at 3:36 PM

      J5: Uggla keeps swearing up and down that he is a secondbaseman first, third and always. The Feesh broached the outfield to him once or twice and he pretended not to hear them. Of course, for what they were willing to pay him, I’d’ve snorted them off too. For someone who is not the second coming of Fagin, Shylock and Jack Benny all rolled into one, it might be a different story.

      • proudlycanadian - Nov 16, 2010 at 7:08 AM

        Old Uggly hits like a corner infielder and had a few too many errors at second for my liking. The Jays do have vacancies at first base and third base; however, Lind and Bautista have some experience at first base and both Hill and Bautista have experience at third. The Jays have some salaries coming off their books and could afford his contract. Toronto’s GM has said that he expects that there will be a lot of action during the GM’s meeting this week. He did not discuss Uggla.

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 15, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    The Jays are realizing that they need all the power they can get to best that division in any way. I wonder if they could land Uggla by just paying most of his salary and offering a few halfway decent prospects instead.

  4. dotgotshot - Nov 16, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    The Jays have catcher besides JP, they traded for Olivo and resigned the Molina brother, i doubt they did that with the intention of keeping all three catchers in the majors, one has to go.

    If the Jays are really the front runner like ppl say than def JP and Cecil are going to be shipped, the Jays are desperate.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 16, 2010 at 8:27 AM

      Oliva was non tendered. The Jays expect to get a draft pick if he signs elsewhere.

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