There comes a time when a baseball team must admit that it stings not having anyone who can hit 30 homeruns. The Atlanta Braves haven’t had such a hitter since the 2006 season, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, they’ve only made the playoffs once in that stretch. The team will be hoping that the trade of super utility infielder (and All-Star) Omar Infante and rookie lefty reliever Mike Dunn for the Marlins’ Silver Slugger second baseman Dan Uggla can even things up a bit with the 2011 Phillies.
I must admit, when I heard the Braves’ name thrown around in rumors for Uggla, I didn’t get my hopes up. Trades in recent years for impact players have been few and far between, and the last real gutsy one (for Mark Teixeira) didn’t work out too well in the long run. Also, this trade violates Wren’s policy of getting All-Stars who are clearly past their prime, like Anderson, Lee, and Glaus. I’ve witnessed the loss of Javier Vazquez for the comical Melky Cabrera and the disposal of Rafael Soriano for the prodigiously untalented Jesse Chavez. It’s fitting I should finally see a trade where the other team got hosed.
Now, if Uggla can learn to use his glove (and I don’t see why he shouldn’t, since the Braves had the fifth worst fielding percentage in the league last season) this could all work out. The team will miss the versatility of Infante, but I’m not sure there’s a sane person on this planet who wouldn’t trade him for Uggla’s right-handed power.