Dan Uggla wants a five-year, $58 million contract extension

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Dan Uggla has asked the Marlins for a five-year, $58 million contract extension, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Good luck with that.
Uggla is already under team control for next season as an arbitration-eligible player, so the Marlins shouldn’t really feel a ton of pressure to lock him up long term. Beyond that, Uggla is already 30 years old and pretty bad defensively at second base, so signing him for $12 million per season through age 35 is hardly a no-brainer even if the Marlins weren’t pinching pennies.
Jackson reports that Florida has offered Uggla a three-year deal worth around $8 million per season, which is certainly a lot more sensible but probably won’t be enough to keep him from hitting the open market after 2011. He’s in line to make $10 to $12 million via arbitration and cashing him in for prospects or taking draft picks when he leaves as a free agent would be a reasonable decision by the Marlins.
Uggla is very good offensively for a second baseman, hitting .283/.367/.506 this season and .262/.348/.487 for his career, but gives back quite a few of those runs on defense already, may be a year or two from a position change, and wouldn’t stand out nearly as much at the plate as a corner outfielder or corner infielder. He has the same career adjusted OPS+ as outfielders like Nick Swisher, Brad Hawpe, and Pat Burrell.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.