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Uggla To Receive 5th Year, More $$$ from Braves

        Could it have turned out any better for Dan Uggla? I mean, the guy was traded to within a horseshoe's throw of his Tennessee home AND became the highest-paid second baseman in major league history by refusing the Marlins' contract offer and being traded to the Atlanta Braves as a result. Uggla's reported deal with the Braves is five years and $62 million.

         Based on average annual salary, Uggla won't be receiving much more from the Braves ($12.4 million/year) than what the Marlins were prepared to pay him ($12 million/year). But the key was the extra year -- a guaranteed fifth year -- that the Marlins refused to concede to the slugger. It's hard to fault their reasoning. Uggla turns 31 in March and will be 35 when he gets to that fifth year. Will Uggla be the player then that he is now? Historical evidence suggests no.

         But it's also hard to fault Uggla and agent Terry Bross for playing hardball with the Marlins and holding out for that fifth year. This is his one and only chance to cash in on his record-book success (he's the only second baseman in major league history to hit at least 30 home runs in four consecutive seasons), and why wouldn't he demand a premium? Some have speculated that in refusing the Marlins' final offer, what Uggla really wanted was out -- out of South Florida. But when we spoke with him after the trade, he sounded genuine when he said he was comfortable here. I don't think he wanted out as much as he wanted fair market value through the 2015 season. He knew that, one way or the other, some team would grant him that, even if the Marlins wouldn't.

        -- Had a quick text exchange this afternoon with catcher John Baker, who is trying to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. Baker said he has begun throwing -- "25 to 45 feet. Threw yesterday. Went great!!" Baker said he planned to begin catching bullpens after he returns to Florida on Jan. 22. "Throwing will depend on how I respond to this protocol. So far so good." The Marlins have tentatively penciled in Baker as a potential lefty bat off the bench, with either Brett Hayes or Brad Davis tabbed for backup catching duty behind John Buck.