Uggla should remain a Marlin

Even after the Marlins agreed to terms with Dan Uggla, speculation remains that the team will trade the two-time All-Star before Opening Day.

From what I’ve heard, don’t believe it.

The Marlins are planning on retaining Uggla, who will be the team’s highest paid player in 2010. Uggla’s one-year deal is worth $7.8 million, which tops Hanley Ramirez, who will collect $7 million this season. Ramirez is in the second of a six-year, $70 million contract.

The Marlins explored trading Uggla in the offseason, but they couldn’t find a match. The Giants and Orioles each expressed interest, but no talks were serious since the Winter Meetings in December.

The way the roster is shaping up, Uggla should remain at second base and batting fifth, behind cleanup hitter, Jorge Cantu.

Uggla’s expected return pretty much secures Chris Coghlan in left field, and makes Emilio Bonifacio the probable super utility player.

The fact the Marlins are bringing Uggla back at $7.8 million means he fits into their 2010 budget. So there is no mandate to move him.

Now, the club can certainly explore trade options at any time. It appears now the only way that would happen is if the team is out of playoff contention at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Of course, during Spring Training, if another team has the need for a second baseman, they could check to see Uggla’s availability. But by that point, the Marlins also will be looking to secure their roster, and it would have to take a sweet offer for them to pull the trigger.

The Marlins maintained all along that they would not just give Uggla away. One reason why the few teams that expressed interest in Uggla shied away from a deal was the fact he was lined up to make more than $7 million.

The fact that his contract is now $7.8 million limits his market, at this point.

Another reason why Uggla is expected to be with the Marlins in 2010 is the team isn’t sure either Bonifacio or Coghlan is ready to be the every day second baseman. In Uggla, the Marlins have a proven 30 homer, 90 RBI slugger who can hit in the middle of the order.

One alternative the Marlins could have explored if they did move Uggla was switching Coghlan to second base and going with prospect Logan Morrison in left field. Morrison will be getting a look at first base in Spring Training, but he can also play either corner outfield spot.

— Joe Frisaro


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