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Could Dan Uggla fill the Nationals hole at first base?

According to Ken Rosenthal and John Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Florida Marlins have given up on re-signing Dan Uggla and are looking to move the All-Star second baseman once and for all, and the Washington Nationals are interested:

“(The Nationals)  have shown interest in Uggla, according to sources. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, in a previous job as the Diamondbacks’ scouting director, selected Uggla in the 11th round of the 2001 draft. Uggla could help replace the power that the Nats will lose if free-agent first baseman”

While it is unclear what the Nationals would have to give up to attain Uggla, the possibility of acquiring a strong bat like his has to make fans feel at ease with the chance of losing slugging first baseman Adam Dunn. In order to acquire him from the Marlins, the Nationals will likely have to pick up the tab on whatever he makes in arbitration in 2011, as well as supply a pitching prospect. This could end up being a good deal for the Nationals who are looking to open their wallets in 2011.

Uggla, who will be 30 by the start of the 2011 season, batted a career high .287/.369/.508 in 2010 while hitting 31 homers and 94 RBI. Since entering the league in 2006, Uggla has been one of the best power hitting second baseman in the majors, hitting 27-or-more bombs in the last five seasons, including at least 30-or-more since 2007. While he is not quite the slugger that Adam Dunn has been, his ability to play the middle infield, as well as possibly the outfield, make him a more dynamic talent.

This of course raises the question, where would Uggla play?

The Nationals are very excited about their young second base prospect, Danny Espinosa, and might not be willing to move the sleek fielding 23-year-old from the position. Uggla on the other hand has been a below average second baseman throughout his career, posting a -7.6 UZR last year. At the age of 30, it’s not likely that his glove will get any better, so could the Nationals move him to first base?

It’s possible, and it certainly would be a good move considering the log jam in the middle infield as well as the likely departure of Adam Dunn. At just 5-11, it will be an adjustment for the other Nationals infielders after throwing to a six foot six first baseman for the past two years, but it would be a way to keep the power bat in the lineup.

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