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.

Bartolo Colon ain’t doing so hot this year

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If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.

Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.

The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.

At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.