Dan Uggla

Dan Uggla reportedly rejects a four year, $48 million offer

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Last week we heard a report that the Marlins had an offer on the table to Dan Uggla. All we knew at the time was that the first year offered only a $200,000 raise for the arbitration-eligible Uggla. Ken Rosenthal reports, however, that it was a better overall deal than that suggested: four years, $48 million.  He also reports that Uggla has rejected the offer.

Seems like a lot of money for a guy like Uggla to turn down. Yes, he’s been a beast offensively, but he’s also got another year until free agency, at which point he’ll be 31, the big spenders out there aren’t exactly in the market for second base help, second basemen tend not to do well on the free agent market,* and he is defense is a liability. Rosenthal suggests that Uggla could broaden his free agency horizons by a move to third, but that was suggested by multiple teams who were looking to trade for him last year, and his agent shot that out of the water, saying that Uggla has “performed remarkably over these four years at second base and there should be no reason to consider a position change at this time.” If he is in such denial about his client’s defensive value, perhaps he’s in denial about his market value too.

One other possibility: Uggla is trying to get out of Miami right now and is rejecting this offer in order to try to get the Marlins to non-tender him before he goes to arbitration this year. That would cut against previous comments Uggla has said about wanting to stay in Florida and, of course, there’s still the open question as to whether there is a contract bigger than $48 million waiting for him out on the market someplace.

*Bret Boone was the last free agent second baseman to land a contract worth more than $25 million. Luis Castillo got $25 million from the Mets two years ago, and the team regretted the signing before the ink was even dry. A handful of second basemen got large deals from their own teams — Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley and Brian Roberts — but that second basemen just don’t do that well in free agency.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.