Uggla, Lindstrom face uncertain future
Pair addresses trade rumors prior to opening of Meetings
INDIANAPOLIS -- Before Major League Baseball representatives reached Indianapolis for the Winter Meetings, the names Dan Uggla and Matt Lindstrom had already surfaced in trade rumors.
Expect to read more about both of them as trade speculation will intensify with the Meetings set to open on Monday.
Uggla and Lindstrom have been prominent Marlins in recent seasons. With both in line for pay raises in arbitration, they are two players now being shopped.
Uggla, a two-time All-Star second baseman, will likely see his salary rise from $5.35 million to about $7 million in his second arbitration year.
Lindstrom, a hard-throwing reliever, made $410,000 this past year. The 29-year-old right-hander, however, now is entering arbitration for the first time, and his 2010 salary projects to be about $1.6 million.
Working within a tight payroll of about $38 million, Marlins management has some hard choices to make. Uggla and Lindstrom promise to attract plenty of attention in Indianapolis.
"The uncertainty part stinks," Uggla said on Sunday in a phone interview with MLB.com. "It could be exciting. But there is some nervousness because you don't know what's going to happen. But I would like to know where I'll be next year."
There has been speculation that the Giants covet Uggla, and the Marlins are expected to want pitching in return.
Uggla, the only Marlins player to ever hit 30 homers in three straight seasons, hears the rumors, but he doesn't know where he will be in Spring Training.
"I have no idea. You never know in these situations," Uggla said. "There can be a lot of talk with one team and a trade can happen with a team that wasn't in the trade rumors."
There also has been speculation as to which position Uggla may wind up playing. Some clubs reportedly want him to play third base, and there was a report that the Red Sox would look at him as a left fielder.
Uggla clearly considers himself a second baseman.
"It's a tough subject," he said. "I feel like I'm a second baseman. I feel like I've done a good job there the last few years. I don't know. We'll have to wait and see."
A Rule 5 Draft pick in 2006 from the D-backs' system, Uggla has emerged into an elite power-hitting second baseman. He is the first player in Major League history, playing a minimum of 100 games at second base, to post three consecutive 30 home run seasons.
Uggla has 139 career home runs, to go along with 360 RBIs. He connected on 31 home runs and drove in 90 for Florida in 2009.
If these are his final days as with the Marlins, Uggla has plenty to reflect about in his time in Florida.
"The opportunity that they gave me, I'm thankful for," Uggla said. "The people I was fortunate to meet along the way. Playing under [manager] Joe Girardi my first year. Moving along and playing under [manager] Fredi Gonzalez my next three years. I was able to meet so many good people along the way and they were able to help me."
This offseason, Uggla has spoken frequently with Marlins outfielder Cody Ross, as well as outfielder Jeremy Hermida, traded from Florida to Boston in early November.
On Sunday, Uggla had a phone conversation with Chris Coghlan, the Marlins' left fielder who was named National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"I was so happy for him," Uggla said of Coghlan. "To see him become the player that he was in the second half was amazing. To be there and witness that was a blessing for me."
The irony is Coghlan likely will move from left field to second base if Uggla is traded.
Lindstrom has been mentioned in trade talks in recent days, and reports are that he could be moved any day.
"I'm sitting back," Lindstrom said on Sunday. "I don't know what's up."
Lindstrom is spending the offseason in Denver, where he is working out. He says his arm is healthy. Last year, he suffered a rotator cuff injury while pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
During the year, he missed 31 games with a sprained right elbow. Lindstrom opened the season as the Marlins closer, and he had 15 saves in 17 chances to go along with a 5.89 ERA. But after his injuries, Leo Nunez took over as closer and he is regarded as the frontrunner for the job when Spring Training opens.
Lindstrom said in mid-November that the Marlins had him return to South Florida for a physical.
"They flew me in for an MRI on my elbow," said Lindstrom, calling the visit an exit physical.
The test showed Lindstrom's elbow is fine.
"It was for peace of mind," Lindstrom said.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.