Marlins initiate extension talks with Dan Uggla

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Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins have “initiated” talks toward a contract extension with second baseman Dan Uggla.

Sadly, it doesn’t mean much.  Jackson says that the Fish are only willing to fork over about $30 million on a three-year pact, which is far less than what Uggla and his agent are seeking in both years and total cash.

The 30-year-old second baseman hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Saturday’s 5-4 extra-innings victory over the Cardinals.  In fact, he’s hit at least 30 home runs in each of the last three seasons and is cruising right toward that number this year with 25 dingers through 403 at-bats.

While not great, Uggla isn’t as awful defensively as some people think and he consistently posts strong power numbers at a position where such things are scarce.  He has one more year of salary arbitration, but then it sounds like he might need to head elsewhere.  There will be no shortage of interest if he does reach the free agent market.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.