Dan Uggla

The Marlins trade Dan Uggla to the Braves

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UPDATE: The trade is a done deal: Dan Uggla to the Braves for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn.  Really not much of a haul for the Marlins given what Uggla brings to the table. And while, sure, Uggla has some defensive issues and is only under team control for one year, this is not a bad price to pay for the Braves for a player who (a) significantly upgrades the team’s offense; and (b) will give the team much comfort if Chipper Jones is unable to come back from his knee injury.  If he does come back, Uggla will likely stick at second, Jones at third, and Martin Prado will play left field and spend some time at first base spelling (or carrying) rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman.

5:21 P.M.: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Braves and Marlins are in conversations about a trade in which Dan Uggla would go to Atlanta in exchange for Omar “All-Star” Infante and reliever Mike Dunn.

My gut reaction from the Braves’ point of view: I like it. Yes, Infante was really nice last year — he hit .321/.359./416 — and yes, he provides a great deal of flexibility given the fragility of Chipper Jones. But really: he’s not envisioned as an everyday player for the Braves in 2011, last year was his top end, and Dan Uggla puts baseballs in the bleachers, and the Braves could sorely use that.

The one question is where Uggla plays, because, at present, Martin Prado is the second baseman and Chipper Jones is trying to come back at third. Jones’ comeback is by no means assured, of course, and if he falters Uggla can play second and Prado third.  If Jones does come back, it’s possible that either Uggla or Prado could take a crack at left field.  The point, again, is that Uggla hurts baseballs, and the Braves need more guys who do that, no matter where they play.

From the Marlins point of view, Infante could replace Uggla as the everyday second baseman and perform just fine. They’re obviously viewing this as a salary dump, however. Mike Dunn appeared in 25 games last year and had a shiny ERA, but he walked 17 batters in 19 innings and shouldn’t be let near a high-leverage situation. He’s a total depth guy/throw-in.

It’ll be interesting to see if this thing goes down.

Murray Chass rightfully nails Major League Baseball on minority hiring

Rob Manfred
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When Murray Chass lays off his vendettas against the people he feels have wronged him, he’s still capable of making some sharp points. Particularly when he’s working in his old bailiwick of the business of baseball.

On Sunday he wrote a blog post about minority hiring in baseball. As in, the nearly complete lack of it, at least in front offices:

Manfred has talked a better job on minority hiring than he has performed. He has created a pipeline program through which members of minorities are supposed to be able to advance into major league front office positions. However, no role models seem to exist as inspiration for younger employees.

In Manfred’s 20 months as commissioner, clubs have hired or promoted 19 high-ranking executives. Eighteen of the 19 are white males. The lone minority is Al Avila, the Tigers’ general manager.

Chass reports that Rob Manfred and, in the past, Bud Selig have leaned on clubs to hire friends or trusted lieutenants but claim they have no power to tell clubs who to hire when it comes to minorities. It’s pretty dang good point.

Moving beyond Chass’ points, it’s worth observing that one way baseball could better populate the executive ranks would be to hire more minorities in entry-level positions. What a better way to become a friend and crony than to have, you know, been there a long time? The game has had a horrible track record in doing this, however, for one simple reason: it pays crap wages for all but the highest of executive positions, pushing away candidates for whom money is, in fact, an object to pursuing a dream in baseball which, by demographic necessity, favors the rich and thus favors whites. Earlier this year MLB launched a pipeline program aimed at getting more minority candidates into entry level MLB jobs. That’s a good start to addressing the problem, but it’s going to take years for that to bear fruit, assuming it ever does.

Back in June Kate Morrison and Russell A. Carleton of Baseball Prospectus wrote a four-part series regarding this very issue, and it’s well worth your time. Among the points made is one that, given his vendettas, Chass surprisingly didn’t make himself: sabermetrics is partially to blame! Go read Kate and Russell’s work on that, but the short version: front offices want MBA/STEM types now, not people with athletic backgrounds. People with those degrees have expensive educations and, in turn, cannot afford to take pennies to work in baseball when they can make far more in other industries, thereby continuing to favor the rich and the white.

I don’t think Rob Manfred or Bud Selig before him or the people who run major league baseball teams are bigots. I don’t think that baseball, as a whole, wants to keep minorities out of top jobs. Chass doesn’t make such a claim either and he, like I, noted the pipeline program.

But baseball is a business rife with cronyism and nepotism which leads those in power to hire friends and relatives, thereby keeping the executive class overwhelmingly male and white. Baseball has shown that, when it wants to, it can lean on teams to make certain hiring choices. Will it do the same to push for greater minority representation in management ranks? Or will it continue to throw up its hands up and say “hey, that’s on the clubs?”

Tim Tebow hits a homer in his first instructional league at bat

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Mets hits a home run at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on September 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Because of course he did.

It wasn’t just his first at bat, but it was his first pitch. It came off of John Kilichowski, an 11th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of Vanderbilt.  The ball went out to left center, off the bat of the lefty Tebow.

Next time, meat, throw him a breaking ball.