UPDATE: Marlins “not confident” about signing Dan Uggla, now talking trade

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UPDATE: Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that the Marlins “are not confident” they will sign Dan Uggla and are now fielding trade offers for the second baseman.

According to Frisaro, in addition to the Tigers, the Marlins have received calls from at least two unidentified National League teams. The Marlins have been asking for relief pitching in return for Uggla, but also remain in the market for a catcher.

If Uggla is traded, the Marlins plan to move Chris Coghlan to second base and give top prospect Matt Dominguez a chance at the starting third base job during spring training. Stay tuned.

Friday, 10:01 PM: So much for optimism. Dan Uggla tells the Associated Press that the Marlins have broken off negotiations for a contract extension.

“It has been the Marlins’ choice to stop negotiations,” he said. “My team is still wanting to negotiate. My career has been in Florida, and I want to stay in Florida.”

On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that Uggla turned down a four-year, $48 million extension. The slugging second baseman is reportedly holding out for five years, which, frankly, is a lot to give to someone who turns 31 next March and is already known as one of the worst defensive second basemen in the game.

Talks could still re-open at any time, but assuming they don’t, either Uggla will either head back into arbitration for a final time or the Marlins will once again explore a trade.

Should they choose to go the trade route, Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi mention tonight that the Tigers have contacted the Marlins to express their interest. According to the report, the Tigers “are looking everywhere for a power bat.” While they prefer someone who bats from the left side of the plate, Uggla is right-handed.

With Carlos Guillen a major question mark after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee in September, the Tigers’ current in-house options at second base consist of Will Rhymes and Scott Sizemore, who have a combined 373 plate appearances in the major leagues.

Report: Mike Trout as recognizable to Americans as NBA’s Kenneth Faried

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On Monday, the Washington Post cited Q Scores, a firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, with regard to Angels outfielder Mike Trout. According to Q Scores, Trout is as recognized to Americans as NBA forward Kenneth Faried, who has spent seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets and is now a reserve with the Brooklyn Nets. Trout’s score was 22, which means just over one in five Americans know who he is.

We have talked here at various times about Trout’s lack of marketability. He has expressed zero interest in being marketed as the face of baseball. Additionally, based on the nature of the sport, it’s harder for baseball to aggressively market its stars since star players don’t impact teams the same way they do in other sports. LeBron James, for example, carries whatever team he’s on to the NBA Finals. James has appeared in the NBA Finals every year dating back to 2011. Trout, despite being far and away the best active player in baseball and one of the best players of all time, has only reached the postseason once, in 2014 when his Angels were swept in the ALDS by the Royals. Trout can’t carry his team to the playoffs and his team hasn’t helped him any in getting there on a regular basis.

Baseball is also more of a regional sport. Fans follow their local team, of course, and don’t really venture beyond that even though games are broadcast nationally throughout the week. The NFL schedule is much shorter and occurs once a week, so fans put aside time to watch not just their favorite team’s game, but other games of interest as well. A June game between the subpar White Sox and Tigers doesn’t have much appeal to it since it’s one of 162 games for both teams, and both teams will play again later in the season. Comparatively, a game between the Bears and Lions has more intrigue since they only play twice a year.

It’s kind of a shame for baseball that Trout isn’t bigger than he is because he is a once-in-a-generation talent, like Ken Griffey Jr. In fact, Trout is so good that he’s still underrated. He’s on pace to have one of the greatest seasons of all-time, going by Wins Above Replacement. Despite that, he’s anything but a lock to win the MVP Award at season’s end because the narratives around other players, like Mookie Betts, are more compelling.

Trout’s marketability is an issue that isn’t likely to be fixed anytime soon. Trout is who he is and forcing him to ham it up for the cameras would come off as forced and unnatural. Major League Baseball will simply have to hope its other stars, like Betts and Bryce Harper, can help broaden the appeal of the sport.