One news item – plus its related comment - from this morning could end up being of some interest for Braves Country:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 17, 2013
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2013
Okay, for those keeping score this off-season, here is the now-current list of movement for second basemen (hang with me, there IS a point to all of this):
- Omar Infante: Kansas City
- Kelly Johnson: New York Yankees
- Brian Roberts: New York Yankees
- Willie Bloomquist: Seattle (utility guy)
- Robinson Cano: Seattle
- Rafael Furcal: Miami (yep – signed to play 2nd)
- Alexander Guerrero (the Cuban expatriate): LA Dodgers
- Nick Punto: Oakland
- Skip Schumaker: Reds (utility guy)
- Ben Zobrist: Rays (option picked up)
- Mark Ellis: St. Louis
- Luis Cruz: Japan
- Mark DeRosa: Retired
Here are the players still available via Free Agency… and frankly, this isn’t a rotisserie league draft list:
- Robert Andino (2B/ss)
- Jamey Carroll (2b/ss)
- Alexi Casilla (2b)
- Chris Getz (2b)
- Alberto Gonzalez (2b)
- Cesar Izturis (2b/ss)
- Paul Janish (2b/ss/3b)
- Elliot Johnson (2b/ss/3b)
- Munenori Kawasaki (2b/ss/3b)
- Ramon Santiago (2b/ss)
In addition to these players:
- the Mets have been looking at the idea of moving Daniel Murphy – without luck so far.
- the Reds have been making noises (on and off again) about trading Brandon Phillips.
… annnnd the Braves would entertain the notion of trading Dan Uggla for a reasonable return.
All Right, So What Just Changed?
A couple of points: both the Yankees and the Mariners have now taken two potential second sackers off the board. Also, Kansas City and St. Louis have now inked the better remaining free agent options (after Robby Cano, of course).
Dan Uggla is now the best second baseman that’s readily available via trade or free agency.
Okay, great. But who still has 2B needs?
- Baltimore, as you may have noted in the second tweet above.
- Toronto… unless they think that Ryan Goins is their answer. Here’s a hint: in one list of their Top 20 prospects for 2013, Goins was listed in the middle of a group of “Others”. Near as I can tell, that’s also the only time he’s appeared in any Blue Jay’s prospect list.
- Maybe Cincinnati or the Mets, depending on their luck in moving players they don’t want.
But for right now, I’m focusing on Baltimore. Orioles owner Peter Angelos is notoriously frugal. This trait has pretty much made sure that the Orioles finish in the bottom half of their division for the past decade-and-a-half (4th place or worse 13 times between 1998-2013). But at this moment, their second base depth chart looks like this:
- Ryan Flaherty (.224, .293 OBP, 10 HR in 2013, below average fielder)
- Jonathan Schoop (14 AB in 5 games/2013)
- Jemile Weeks (.221 in 2012, .111 in 9 plate appearance in 2013)
The Orioles would definitely improve their team by getting Dan Uggla from Atlanta and moving Flaherty to a utility role. That would add another big hitter to Adam Jones and Chris Davis, while also replacing some of the offense lost as Nate McLouth went to the Nationals. Taking some of the offensive pressure off of Matt Weiters would also be a good idea. And it would only cost Angelos about $5m-6m per year … for just a 2 year comittment.
I’m pretty sure Atlanta would take that kind of deal. And Baltimore should jump at the chance to add 20-25 HR for that kind of price: hitting in AL East parks isn’t such a bad thing (that HR estimate could easily be low).
The downsides for Baltimore? Roberts is a lefty… well, when he plays. But so is Ryan Flaherty. Adding Uggla would make them a bit more RH-heavy… but compared to the alternatives, they might still take that.
Daniel Murphy is actually the better option (he’ll be roughly the same price as Dan once Atlanta stuffs a check into his travel pack), but the Orioles may very well not wish to part with the trade chips necessary to get Murphy from the Mets. Murphy would also cost even more during 2015 – his last year of control. If the Orioles fail to do that, then… well, it just tells you the kind of short-sighted approach ownership seems to take in Baltimore. That’s yet another reason why calling them about Uggs makes sense: it plays on Angelos’ tendencies.
The Orioles may have been left in the lurch with the sudden departure of Brian Roberts (though I’m still pretty sure their fans are happy enough), but this kind of a deal would certainly help them out for 2014. Regardless, the market for a possible opening to move Uggla may have finally had enough dominoes fall to get him back into a few conversations.
It could happen. Just sayin’.