Posted: 7:01 am Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Why the Braves should dump Dan Uggla 

By Mark Bradley

Fredi Gonzalez and Dan Uggla on a happier day. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Fredi Gonzalez and Dan Uggla on a happier day. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Today’s AJC includes a column from yours truly advising the Atlanta Braves to release Dan Uggla. (It’s also available on myajc.com.) I realize such a move is easier said than done. I also believe such a move needs to happen.

Paying him $22.1 million to go away is a major financial reversal, but paying him that much money to sit in the dugout — counting last night’s loss in San Fran, Uggla has started one of the past seven games — is even more damaging. He has gone from being an All-Star to the 25th man on the Braves’ roster, and former All-Stars aren’t usually cut out for 25th-man duty.

He can’t hit anymore — and on a team that’s last in the big leagues in runs scored, that’s an issue — and he never was Bill Mazeroski afield. If Fredi Gonzalez tries to keep playing Uggla, the manager will do a disservice to the rest of his team. If Uggla is made to sit for an extended period, he becomes a distraction, which no team needs.

Ergo, he needs to go, or so say I. Perhaps you feel otherwise. That’s why the comments box exists. Oh, and there’s also a poll. And I thank you for your continuing patronage.

Further reading from December 2010: Would you pay $60 million to keep Dan Uggla? The Braves just might.

239 comments
ColemanSmith
ColemanSmith

OldBrav e,Retired,

   The Braves have a perfect leadoff man in the minors, Jose Peralza. He stole over 60 bases last year, and already has stolen 26 bases this year.

MairimSulaiman
MairimSulaiman

Where's Mike Lum and Biff Pocoroba when ya need them?

Gwinforfun
Gwinforfun

Uggla         2B

Simmons   SS

Freeman    1B

J Upton       LF

Johnson     3B

Heyward     RF

Gattis           C

B. J. Upton  CF

Pitcher


BravoDawg
BravoDawg

Make a deal to get a REAL leadoff hitter & throw in Uggla maybe to an AL team as a DH, package JHey, Hale, & Uggly & lets get a stud to lead off, cmon Fredi JHey is NO lead off hitter!!!

Gwinforfun
Gwinforfun

Ok, let me say my peace about Heyward. I love the player, but we alll know (except Fredi) that he is not a true lead off hitter. My God, he is out of his element and looks totally uncomfortable in his apporach and his mechanics. I get it that the Braves have nobody else to fill that role, SHAME ON THEM!!! Please save Heywards career and put him back in the six hole and let him go back to his natural line drive power swing!!! PLEASE!!!  Per my previous comment, put Uggla in that spot, can't be any worse and I beleive Uggla gets the job done. Thumb me down, I don't care, I think it works.

Gwinforfun
Gwinforfun

Either start him and bat him first or trade him for the soon to be released Jeff Keppinger. The trade makes sense in that it gives both players a new lease on life for a new team plus the Braves would save $12 million in salary differential. Maybe the Braves add a minor leager in the deal, but why not  try and work it out. If the Braves keep him, I really beleive he could be successful batting lead off.. He has speed to get on base and if he cuts down on his swing and just makes contact and goes opposotie field, it may just resuurect his career.. Call me crazy because you will all say he strikes out too much. I say become a contact hitter, put the ball in play and take away the long ball swing. OK, call me crazy again because you will say a veteran player cannot change his approach or swing. I say if you are staring at the end of your career, you will try anything to extend your prosfesional life. Do it and do in NOW!!!

POV1948
POV1948

Big name free agents are not Wren's strength.  Generally he has done well stocking the bench but for starting line up he always goes for streaky free swingers who have power when they connect but are way above average in Ks and have no concept of situational hitting.  Uggla is past hope in turning things around at the plate.  Free the roster spot.  As MB points out, the $ is wasted either way

RobertCerasuolo
RobertCerasuolo

I say offer J. Upton Uggla David Hale and Todd Cunningham to the Cubs for Bonofacio Jeff Samardzija and  Luis Valbuena. This trades two things, one bring in a legit leadoff and two bring the Braves a super utility  guy.  What Fredi should do if this trade is made is bring up La stella and use both him and Bonofacio at the top of the line up and move Heyward behind Gattis and use BJ in the ninth hole like they being doing lately.

Closer
Closer

He has to approve getting sent down? How dumb are the owners? He is being paid $12 million a year and he can't be sent down to work on his hitting? Because that is the logical move. Bring up the rookie and send Uggla down.  Since you can't do that, you gotta cut him loose. 

HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

By all accounts and attempts at factoring in the intangibles......yes, Dan Uggla should be released.


However, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Why you ask?


Well consider the following: Fredi G. has been his manager for several years across two different organizations (Braves and Miami).  Second, Dan Uggla is the consummate professional baseball player. Dude is respected by his teammates, loved for his good attitude in spite of what has happened on the field in 2013 -2014 and will runs through walls if asked to do so. Dan Uggla commands respect without regard to his lack of production on the field.


That said, baseball is a business and Uggla is a terrible investment right now. Frank Wren is in a pickle as Danny boy is his responsibility. Uggla is also deeply appreciated by the entire organization. Which is why Uggla is likely to remain with the Bravos for the near future, regardless of the 22.1 million or what the fans think.

iamvlad
iamvlad

I feel bad for ugla as he is probably a good guy. I feel bad for the fact that his replacements are hitting just as poorly. I feel bad for the fact that upton is just as terrible [and I don't feel that BJ upton is all that great in the field].

but having said that, I would think the best thing for all is that he agrees to go down to Gwinnett for one last try to come back.

RONMERIDIAN
RONMERIDIAN

Its not all Uggla's fault but the Braves have to have a team that can play small ball sometimes. Trade for Bonafacio from the Cubs so he can leadoff. Heyward is not a leadoff guy. Dump or trade Uggla and Schafer. Bring up La Stella . Line up as follows:

Bonafacio SS. 2nd base

C. Johnson R. 3rd

Freeman L. 1st

Gattis R. Catcher

Heyward L RF

J. Upton R. LF

B.J. Upton R CF

Simmons. R. SS

Bench: Laird, Duomit, Pastornicky, Pena, La Stella.

Bonafacio can play all outfield positions and most infield positions.

Alalice
Alalice

Uggla and BJ should both be released! They are rally killers and eventually the other players will resent them. They have no value to us. The sooner the better.

SeaDog46
SeaDog46

Uggla can no longer hit major league pitching and Upton barely can. Chalk this up to an inept GM who cannot evaluate talent yet lays out big bucks for his mistakes......has Liberty Media nodded off on this guy?

The minors won't help Uggla so Braves should release him and hope someone picks him up as a PH later in the season so they can lay off some of that ridiculous salary. .

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

Dan is always hustling, always trying as hard as he can.  Those are commendable traits for which I respect him, but those traits by themselves are not nearly enough to keep him in MLB.  Dan is not so old that  his hitting should deteriorate this much. I strongly suspect that he is an ex-juicer who made it in MLB via the edge that PEDs gave him. Without that edge, he cannot hit at this level.

I don't know what BJ's deal is, but he does not look like an MLB-caliber hitter either.

Zapp
Zapp

Let this be a lesson to the front office about signing aging stars, and yes he needs to be designated for assignment to remove him from the dugout and the locker room.

FlatsLine
FlatsLine

I think it's a pretty clear decision: Designate him for assignment.

If he refuses, great, cut him loose.  If he accepts, at least he can get regular ABs at the minor league level.  Bus him all the way back to High-A Lynchburg or something.  That way he can spend less time at The Ivy and more time working on the gaping holes in his swing/approach.

thad#2
thad#2

Uggla is not the only problem on this team.  Yes he is struggling but most of the team is.  BJ cant hit either.  Heyward cant hit either.  Actually BJ or Heyward would struggle to start on any other team in the majors but yet according to gonzalez they are to good to let schaffer play.  We got more problems than just Uggla.  This team cant hit and cant score.  night after night.  3 hits and 2 runs if we are lucky.  Something has to give soon. 

SteveJobs
SteveJobs

Now that his boy Chipper's not around to protect him, its amazing how clear media following the Braves can see the decline in play that everyone's seen since he was signed

gobige
gobige

Uggla can at least hit HRs. This chat should be about BJ Upton-that guy isn't worth a half eaten stale bag of store brand Cheetos.

StandYourGround
StandYourGround

Based on the poll numbers 93%+ don't want to ever see Uggla in the Braves active lineup again........Dan move on, we don't need you no more!

Mr_Ected
Mr_Ected

We need to move on, and so does Dan.  It must suck to watch your formidable skill set shrink into oblivion, especially for a guy who was first and foremost a hard worker and a good teammate.  Yes, we have more problems at the plate than just Mr.Uggla, but no one has been in a sustained slump for half as long as he has.

JamieMathis
JamieMathis

He's been on the roster a year longer than he needed to be. Trade him for a sack of baseballs and some sunflower seeds!

GTAlum
GTAlum

I imagine the only reason he's still on the roster is there are teams talking to the Braves about taking him.  If it even happens, it will either be a bad salary swap or the Braves will have to eat most of his contract, but if they can get something back for him, it's better than releasing him and letting some team sign him for the minimum.

Wink77
Wink77

Yeah the Smuggla needs to go ASAP!   Bring on LaStella.

StandYourGround
StandYourGround

I am really surprised that any of you AJC writers actually had the cojones to finally say what is the TRUTH!

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

I won last night , told yall the dodgers and giants , were tops, this braves team needs to get rid of heyward, b.j.upton, laird, doumit, uggla needs to stay and bat 8th period you not playing him and they are scoring 2 runs a game this team is sorry make trades shake these suckers up.

Artw
Artw

I read on MLBtrade rumors that the Diamondbacks are ready to do something with Aaron HIl. Make a trade for Uggla

MikeS777
MikeS777

Id like to make clear that Uggla's replacement (Pena) is hitting .195.  He's a career .240 hitter that also has somehow forgotten how to make contact in a Braves uniform.  Laird is a career .245 hitter and he's at .171 right now.  BJs replacement?  Schafer is also part of the sub .200 club.  He's at .143.

Honestly, if I was Uggla and BJ, I would ask to be released before they completely ruin their careers here in ATL.  Get released and go get picked up by a team with a hitting coach that has a chance of helping them find their swings again.   I bet they go somewhere else and figure out how to hit again.

Helmsman Potato
Helmsman Potato

If you're not going to keep giving uggla a shot, you have to release him.  As usual this comment thread is filled with meatheads whose greatest thrill in life seems to be harboring resentment toward every facet of their own team.  The damn team is in first place, despite another year of crippling injuries and a nasty losing streak.  They won the division last year.  Most of us people who hang out in the real world feel pretty good about the braves these days.  Except for the Cobb County nonsense.  I'm guessing where most of you ignorant pigheads are from.

ElephantintheRoom
ElephantintheRoom

Trade Uggla, BJ Upton, a nd Laird or release them and replace them with the best from the farm teams. They are all hurting the team with their bats.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

The Braves have waited long enough, release him.  He is untradeable and has been for 2 years.  Put a check in the box and move on.

Andy123
Andy123

I say who cares?  The Braves haven't been relevant since the 90's. 

Intruder
Intruder

Dumping Dan might not solve all the Braves problems but it would eliminate one of them. Feeling sorry for him is kinda sick.

UB40
UB40

I'm tired of waiting for Heyward, too.  He's a stellar right-fielder, but stinks at the plate.  This organization is too patient sometimes, and lacks the killer instinct defined by winners.  The Atlanta Braves - "We'll Get 'em Next Year."  


But they never do..

ms1964
ms1964

It's funny to read a column like this.  AJC writers have been making excuses for Uggla and (insert name of non-hitting Brave here__________) for years. It's as if the Braves hitting woes started a week ago. This is a systemic problem with this team and always has been.  There is not one bat in the lineup that has pitchers thinking "pitch around that guy"........mainly because Freeman is usually up with bases empty.  And if Freeman gets hurt....OMG, the pitching staff will need to throw no-hitters to get a chance at a no-decision. 

This is a bad team.  Heyward is not the player everyone thought he would be, Gattis is raw (being kind there), J. Upton could very well be hitting .300 or .150 by seasons end, his brother closer to one than the other, etc. 

This team is built for April and it never changes.   

@Braves_Talk
@Braves_Talk

@Closer  You must not understand that big time players have agreements written into their contract that prevents them being sent down.

oldcrackerfan
oldcrackerfan

@SeaDog46  

Chipper Jones does not agree.  He says that Dan has become fixated on yanking the ball around the LF foul poll.  He also says that the same thing ruined  Aundrew Jones.  (Fifteen minutes with Chipper got more of a rise out of BJ than anything else in over a year.)  I think that anybody who watches Uggla swing would agree that he's pull-happy.  It just might be that sitting this long is the last attempt to get his attention and convince him to hit to all fields.  If he does that, the homers will come.  I'd understand cutting him, but I doubt that's going to happen: it would have already been done.  I'd understand sending him down, but that's Plan B.  Plan A seems to be to sit him until he's ready to listen to the hitting coaches.  Watching somebody else steal his job just might do it.

YonahSchimmel
YonahSchimmel

@BaseballBuff  hustling without hitting and too many errors in the field don't usually result in wins. oldcrackerfan has it right. got to be absolutely his last, final best shot and he has to take it or begone with his bad (and i mean BAD) self...

FlatsLine
FlatsLine

@thad#2 "...Heyward would struggle to start on any other team in the majors..."

have you watched much baseball?

Rick_C
Rick_C

@Artw  Not true, and even if so I can't see why they'd move him for a lesser second baseman.

briansmith10
briansmith10

A hitting coach cannot go to bat for the batter. When a batter can't hit, the coach can only do so much. They give them tips and it's up to the batter to put it all together.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@Helmsman Potato Cobb County people "ignorant pigheads"  what a lacking of normal intelligence or retarded statement.  What county you from? I'll make sure to stay out because I know one idiot lives there.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@Helmsman Potato  They are in first place because the pitching has been that good and the rest of the division just isnt very good.  Fact is, this team likely will win this division, but I dont give them a chance in the playoffs unless they start hitting as a team.  They can't have half the lineup full of holes when trying to beat a loaded Dodgers or Cardinals team.

Westside1
Westside1

@ms1964

Best post on this board.  Organization is way too patient with mediocrity.  Admit you made a mistake with a player and move on. At least the fan base can get excited about a change.  I've been following baseball 40 years and can't remember a time when teams had so many sub Mendoza batters.  BORING! 

58Supersports
58Supersports

@58Supersports @MikeS777 You said Nate McClouth had a great year before he came here and after he left...Not  true . 2009 he had a fair year 257ba  Pirates and only hit  220 range with Braves...then in next year 2011-12 was   AAA... 2012-13 Balt.=240ba==lifetime 224 ba..great hitting coach...lol  This year with Nationals==.090 ba and now on DL.....you really know our stuff.