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

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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.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.