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.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.