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For Marlins and Uggla, is it bye-bye Birdies?

  With news that the Orioles have reached agreement with Garrett Atkins on a one-year deal, the Marlins have almost certainly lost a potential trading partner for Dan Uggla. Atkins satisfies Baltimore's desire for the third baseman and right-handed power bat that made Uggla mildly appealing to them, though discussions with the Marlins never advanced beyond a preliminary level. It's possible that the Orioles could stick Atkins at first and take a stab at Uggla. But that seems highly doubtful at this point.

  The San Francisco Giants continue to loom as a possible landing spot for Uggla, and our own Barry Jackson reported yesterday that the clubs exchanged names (right-hander Jonathan Sanchez, minor-league lefty Clayton Tanner and another mid-level minor-league pitcher) at the winter meetings last week. But the Indy meetings ended without a deal and it has been quiet ever since.

  Since other teams aren't exactly pounding down the door for Uggla, I'm starting to think that if the Marlins hope to move him, they'll either have to lower their demands or sweeten their end of the deal. Might they throw in, say, someone like an Andrew Miller in order to grease the trade skids, especially if they are getting a major league pitcher (Sanchez, for example) in return?

   Yet another factor to consider: until the Marlins are certain they won't be on the hook for the approximate $7 million they would have to budget by keeping Uggla, I don't expect them to open their wallets in the free agent market -- at least not to any significant degree -- to plug holes in their bullpen and bench. In other words, forget about Matt Capps -- or any other potential targets in that salary range. Remember, the Marlins have not spent more than $2 million on any free agent since the Carlos Delgado signing in 2005.