Dan Uggla didn’t set out to become the worst player in the major leagues. It just happened. But now that it has happened, the one thing the worst player in the majors can’t be, provided he wants to keep his place in the majors, is a distraction. Poor Dan just flunked that test, too.
On the day before the All-Star break, a day the Atlanta Braves will try to win a game and ensure that they hold at least a share of first place in the National League East, they first had to deal with the 25th man on a 25-man roster. They had to make a roster move — summoning Phil Gosselin from Gwinnett — because they’d suspended their worst player for one game.
Details as to why weren’t immediately forthcoming — it was deemed “an internal matter” — but we know the Braves as a club are famously slow to anger. We also know that Fredi Gonzalez has managed Uggla for at least part of the past eight seasons, for which Fredi G. deserves a special place in managerial Valhalla. But we can assume from the token suspension that Gonzalez’s bottomless reservoir of patience has run dry.
Not to belabor a point made long ago, but the Braves are doing no one a favor by keeping Uggla on their roster — not him, not his teammates, especially not Fredi G. For two months they’ve essentially worked with a 24-man roster. We all know Uggla is only here because he’s still owed $19 million, but that $19 million is a sunken cost. No matter how much the Braves might cross their fingers and hope/wish/pray, no other team will pay a farthing to take this guy off their hands.
The trade deadline arrives in 18 days, but in Uggla’s case it’s meaningless. He’s immovable. The only way he’s going anywhere is if the Braves cut him, which they needed to do two months ago. For the good of all concerned — yes, even poor Dan — they must do it now.
From May: Why the Braves should dump Dan Uggla.