Dan Uggla, John Buck Moves Could Bring Red Sox Closer to Re-Signing Victor Martinez, Adrian Beltre

It happened in a span of an hour or so, but it could have lasting effects on the Red Sox' offseason plans.

Moments after reports surfaced that second baseman Dan Uggla had been shipped to Atlanta on Tuesday night, free agent catcher John Buck was signed to a three-year deal by the Florida Marlins, taking away two potential targets for the Sox.

Uggla had been considered a possible replacement at third base in the event Boston is unable to sign Adrian Beltre. Uggla is a second baseman, but not a spectacular one, and some thought he could be well-suited to make the transition. He has also been discussed as a candidate to play some left field, another position that could remain in flux at Fenway Park.

Buck, meanwhile, was perhaps the most appealing catcher on the free-agent market after the Sox' Victor Martinez, and could've been Boston's best option if Martinez walks.

The developments may not be particularly damaging — Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has indicated that his "first option" at both positions is re-signing Beltre and Martinez, and he has expressed confidence in potential in-house fixes (Kevin Youkilis at third base, which would require the acquisition of a first baseman, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate). Also, sources indicated that the $6 million per year that Buck got was more than the Red Sox would've been willing to spend — so they were not that interested in him.

However, with a pair of rather major moves occurring relatively early in the offseason, Epstein's options outside the organization have become that much more limited if and when he needs to hit the market to fill a need. Perhaps this just steers them, however slightly, more toward Beltre and Martinez.

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