San Francisco Giants Signing of Dan Uggla Could Put Cincinnati Reds in Position to Acquire Ben Zobrist


May 18, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) turns a double play over St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter (13) at Busch Stadium. The Braves won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds chances of trading for Tampa Bay Rays infielder Ben Zobrist may have just improved, thanks to the San Francisco Giants.  As detailed by Joseph Zucker on Bleacher Report, the Giants this afternoon have signed beleaguered former Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla to a minor league contract.   The Giants were one of the suitors mentioned most often, along with the Reds and Seattle Mariners,  in trade rumors surrounding Zobrist.  

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Giants’ second baseman Brandon Hicks has posted an OPS of .599 in 71 games this season, making him about 27% worse at the plate than a league-average keystoner, and he’s been just adequate defensively.  Given Hicks’ performance and the Giants’ recent slide in the standings, it’s not surprising that general manager Brian Sabean would target a middle-infield bat as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.  He’s taking a flyer on Uggla, who has a history of heavy production but who wore out his welcome with the Atlanta Braves this season (and last).

If Sabean sees Uggla as the Giants’ solution at second, then that would likely take them out of the Zobrist sweepstakes, the winner of which will have to forfeit at least one strong prospect.   On Sunday, Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty stoked the local rumor mill by admitting that Zobrist is “a good name.”