Uggla to the Braves? Would you believe Damon or Swisher?

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Ken Rosenthal ponders some possibilities for the Atlanta Braves, who are in the market for a corner outfielder.

First up: Dan Uggla, who could maybe be converted from second base.
Rosenthal says the Braves and Marlins have discussed it, that Atlanta’s
interest is only “mild,” and notes the difficulty involved with making
Uggla a left fielder. As in, he doesn’t want to be one.

Rosenthal suggests that the Braves could bring him in as a second
baseman and hope that Uggla realizes during spring training that he’s
not as good at second as Martin Prado is.  That would work if (a) Bobby
Cox had a second’s patience for that kind of nonsense, which he
doesn’t; (b) Cox doesn’t worship the ground Martin Prado walks on,
which he does; and (c) Dan Uggla was unlike almost every other player
in baseball history and really and truly wanted to be moved off of the
position at which he broke into the bigs.  Rosenthal, essentially
acknowledging the problems here, says that the Braves could ask
permission to talk to Uggla about a move before doing a deal. 

I’m not
going to hold my breath. The Braves have
gone down the convert-an-infielder-to-left path before with both
Chipper Jones and Kelly Johnson.  Neither Cox nor the players involved
liked that very much, so I don’t see them doing it for Dan Uggla, who
is a less-athletic version of both Jones and Johnson.

Outside of Uggla, Rosenthal wonders about Atlanta signing Johnny Damon or trading for Nick Swisher.

I could see Damon working if and only if he is in full
winter-2008-Bobby-Abreu mode as spring approaches and is willing to do
a one-year, sub-$10 million deal. And actually, the Braves would think
anything north of $6 million would be high.  Ultimately, while I think
that Damon has kind of screwed himself this offseason, I don’t think
he’ll end up being that desperate.

Swisher makes far less sense, in that I can’t see the Yankees taking
Derek Lowe for him, and Lowe is about the only player the Braves have
talked about shopping this year. Maybe they’d shop Javier Vazquez, but
the Yankees have been there and done that and probably don’t want him
back.  New York seems far more inclined to look at guys like Justin
Duchscherer and Ben Sheets than they are to take on a guy owed $45
million bucks over the next three years, and they’re wise to be so
inclined.

So it’s all fun talk — the stuff the hot stove is made of, even — but
I’d be pretty surprised if we see any of these guys wearing the
tomahawk next season.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.