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.

Phillies sign outfielder Michael Saunders

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 3: Michael Saunders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first after being walked during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 3, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.

Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.

The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.