Stubborn Uggla doesn't want to budge

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While it seems as though most of his suitors view him as a third baseman or outfielder, Dan Uggla isn’t interested in moving off second base, his agent told Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown.

“Danny Uggla’s been a full-time second baseman for the last four years,” agent Jeff Borris said. “He’s performed exceptionally well at that position. Although he has the athleticism to play other positions, he’s performed remarkably over these four years at second base and there should be no reason to consider a position change at this time.”

Of course, Uggla is pretty much universally regarded as a below average second baseman. UZR has actually rated him above average in two of his four seasons, but it had him at -10 runs last season. Luis Castillo was the only full-time second baseman to grade out worse. Overall, UZR has him three runs below average per year. Uggla commits more errors than the typical second baseman, and he’s simply not very fast. He is surprisingly strong on double plays, but he’s only going to get slower as he ages.
Money is the big reason most players resist moves to easier positions, but Uggla has little to lose here. He’s still two years away from free agency, and by the time 2012 rolls around, it’s doubtful that any team is going to give him a long-term contract to start second base. He’d almost surely be better off if he’s settled in at third or in left field by then.
There’s also the fact that second basemen, generally, don’t make a lot of money. Bret Boone (remember him?) was the last free agent second baseman to land a contract worth more than $25 million. Castillo got $25 million from the Mets two years ago, and the team regretted the signing before the ink was even dry. Chase Utley and Brian Roberts are the only second basemen currently making more than approx. $7.5 million that Uggla figures to earn in arbitration next year. Second basemen tend to be plentiful and cheap in free agency. They also often age badly. Many will likely see Uggla as a poor investment as a second baseman in two years.
Uggla has been connected with the Giants and Orioles as a possibility at third and the Braves and Red Sox as a left fielder. No one, though, has been talking about picking him up to play second base. The 29-year-old might as well take the hint.

Phillies down Astros for 1st playoff berth since 2011

Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros
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HOUSTON – Aaron Nola took a perfect game into the seventh inning and Kyle Schwarber homered twice as the Philadelphia Phillies clinched their first playoff berth in 11 years with a 3-0 win over the Houston Astros on Monday night.

After Brandon Marsh caught Mauricio Dubon’s fly ball in center for for the game’s final out, players jumped and cheered in jubilation before meeting at the mound where they hugged and bounced around some more.

The video board at Minute Maid Park displayed the team’s logo and the words: “Congratulations Philadelphia” as the Phillies celebrated.

A small but vocal group of Philadelphia fans congregated near the team’s dugout and chanted: “Let’s go Phillies,” in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Phillies clinched at the same ballpark where they secured their last postseason trip on Sept. 14, 2011. That game was a 1-0 victory over the Astros highlighted by a complete game shutout by Hall of Famer Roy Halladay.

Philadelphia’s postseason drought was the longest active one in the majors after the Seattle Mariners clinched their first playoff berth in 21 years Friday night.

The Phillies entered the opener of the final regular season series of the year needing a win or a loss by the Brewers to get a National League Wild Card spot. The Brewers rallied to beat the Diamondbacks 6-5 in 10 innings a few minutes before Philadelphia wrapped up the victory.

Nola (11-13) struck out nine and didn’t allow a baserunner until Yordan Alvarez singled with two outs in the seventh. David Hensley followed with a single and Nola was replaced by Jose Alvarado, who struck out Kyle Tucker to end the inning.

Zach Eflin pitched a scoreless ninth to complete the shutout and get his first save in 11 years of pro ball.

Schwarber got things going for the Phillies in their first visit to Houston since Sept. 16, 2012, with a leadoff homer off Lance McCullers (4-2)

Philadelphia added some insurance when Bryson Stott and Schwarber hit back-to-back solo shots off Jose Urquidy to start the eighth inning.

It is the eighth multi-home run game this season for Schwarber, who leads the NL with a career-high 46 home runs, and gives him 199 homers in his career.

The Phillies have three players who will appear in the postseason for the first time after playing more than 600 career games. Jean Segura leads the group with 1,327, J.T. Realmuto has 1,004 and Rhys Hoskins is at 666.

McCullers allowed six hits and one run with five strikeouts in six innings.

Manager Dusty Baker replaced Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Jeremy Pena with Aledmys Diaz, Dubon and Hensley for the seventh inning.

He said before the game that he planned to get some of his starters out early to rest since Houston has already clinched the best record in the American League.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: LHP Brad Hand (elbow tendinitis) threw a bullpen session Monday in Houston and could throw live batting practice Wednesday. If that goes well, he could be ready to return for the postseason.

UP NEXT

Houston Justin Verlander, whose 1.80 ERA leads the majors, will try for his 18th win when the series continues Tuesday against Ranger Suarez (10-6, 3.37).