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.

Yadier Molina responds to Willson Contreras on Instagram

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On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”

Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.

Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.

Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.