Doug Miller of MLB.com has put together an excellent article and list of arbitration eligible players. While reading such a fine piece, two names stuck out: Dan Uggla and Ryan Ludwick. Both will end up in an entirely new world of money no matter if they go to arbitration, win or lose or sign before the hearings.
According to Miller, Dan Uggla will go from making $417,000 to at least $4 million in his worst case scenerio. Welcome to high finance, Mr. Uggla!
Uggla, who has one of the weirdest last names in baseball history, has also had a weird career. Uggla has averaged 30 homers a year for the three years he's been in the big leagues. He added 49 doubles in 2007 and yet hit only .245. This past year, he raised his average to .260 while also raising his OBP to a career high of .360.
One of the most interesting aspects of Uggla's career is that for the past two years, more than 50% of his base hits were for extra bases. He truly is an all or nothing kind of player. He struck out a career high 171 times. This weird mix of all or nothing led to Uggla coming in fourth for second baseman in Win Shares behind Utley, Pedroia and Kinsler. See the list for second basemen here. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Uggla is slightly better than league average as a fielder.
Ryan Ludwick burst out of nowhere last year to put up impressive numbers for the Cardinals. He too will get a big raise from somewhere in the $450,000 range to at least $2.8 million.
Ludwick was drafted in the second round of the 1999 draft by the Oakland Athletics. He made his major league debut in 2002 and had cups of coffee in every year from then until 2006 with Texas, Toronto and Cleveland (including all three teams in 2004!).
In 2007, Tony LaRussa stuck him in 120 games and he was pretty good, but nothing spectacular. Then this past year, he exploded in every part of his batting game. He hit 37 homers, drove in 113 and raised his Batting Average and OBP (.299 and .375). Ludwick also seems to be a decent fielder with above league average range factor. He also came in fifth of all major league outfielders in Win Shares.
Ludwick certainly had a superstar year. It will be interesting to see if he can sustain that production. Either way, he will be doing so in an entirely new financial reality.