Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves is a fairly famous second baseman. He is known for his triumphant home runs, his Popeye-esque forearms, his strikeouts, his low batting average, and his burdensome contract (5 years, $62 million).
The Braves, who have World Series aspirations each season thanks to the strength of their organization, have been quiet this off-season. But second base is one place they stand to improve, and Mike Petriello of ESPN (insider required) suggests they should make a trade to improve that spot.
Petriello suggests that Atlanta engage the Los Angeles Angels in trade talks for Howie Kendrick, a player they made available almost immediately after the 2013 season concluded. In 2013 Kendrick was good for a .297/.335/.439 line, far better than Uggla’s .179/.309/.362 (even with his 22 home runs). Right-handed power isn’t so important that the Braves can continue to put up with that lack of production, and of course Kendrick would be an upgrade defensively.
So should the Braves pursue such a deal? Petriello suggests that they would send young pitching LA’s direction in exchange for Kendrick. Every MLB team is reluctant to part with pitching, however, and better be able to justify any such deal as decidedly improving their team.
Kendrick was good for a 2.7 fWAR in 2013, placing him among the ranks of good second baseman like Marco Scutaro and Brandon Phillips and 11th in all of baseball. Does that justify a trade that gives up young arms? Is there a chance to replace Uggla at second without having to trade pitching?
Those are the questions the Braves will have to weigh, and while Kendrick is a good player, they will have to give serious though to whether or not this type of trade would be worth it.