Posted: 2:01 pm Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Braves’ move shouldn’t mean Uggla’s out — yet (updated) 

By Jeff Schultz

Dan Uggla's time as a Brave could be nearing an end.

Dan Uggla’s time as a Brave could be nearing an end.

The Braves have recalled second baseman Tommy La Stella from Triple-A Gwinnett, and I know what you’re thinking: Did they slip release papers and a plane ticket under Dan Uggla’s hotel room door in Boston.

No. Nor should they just yet.

The team has yet to announce what roster move will be made to open a spot for La Stella, who was hitting .293 with a .384 on-base percentage in Gwinnett. But there’s a good chance Uggla, who has lost his starting job, will not be released for now. Options include putting shortstop Andrelton Simmons on the disabled list (if that’s deemed necessary after he left Tuesday’s game against Boston with an ankle injury) and or sending Tyler Pastornicky to the minors.

(I’ll update this when the team makes an announcement.)

UPDATE: The Braves have optioned Tyler Pastornicky to Gwinnett to make room for La Stella.

Back to Uggla. As David O’Brien summarized nicely, he’s on pace for the worst season of his career — for the third straight year. He’s batting .177 with two homers and 10 RBIs. He hit .179 with 22 homers in 2013.

I know some/many/most of you would like to see Uggla gone. But there’s a few things that need to be considered before such a move is made:

• Uggla is owed another $21 million-plus in his contract, which runs through next season. So regardless of what the Braves do, they will have to pay him. And no, again, once more with feeling: They’re not going to be able to trade him and get another team to pick up the deal — or even a reasonable part of the deal — because if they were able to do that, general manager Frank Wren would’ve dealt Uggla in the winter.

• In these circumstances, a veteran is released for one of two reasons: 1) He has become a distraction in the clubhouse and the team believes it would be better off if he wasn’t around; 2) Another player (or two) are deemed superior, making the fallen veteran’s roster spot  problematic.

Neither is the case here, yet.

Uggla certainly isn’t a distraction. He is liked by teammates and has handled his demotion well, similar to when he was left off the playoff roster last season. As far as competition for the second base job, who exactly has left Uggla in the dust? While many might view Pastornicky and/or Ramiro Pena as better options at second base, neither is having a great season. Via O’Brien: Pastornicky is 5-for-27 (.185) as a second baseman and has been shaky defensively. Pena is 4-for-37 (.108) as a second baseman

For the season, Pastornicky is hitting .200, Pena .164.

If La Stella is effective with the Braves, that changes the equation. But until then, I don’t see any reason to make a move with Uggla just yet. Of course, you’re free to disagree, and I’m sure many of you do.

The cyber-floor is yours.

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85 comments
BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

LaStella's hitting will mean the end for Uggla............Time to let Uggla walk and give his bench spot to someone who can help this team!

TideDawg
TideDawg

Pastornicky has seen the last of Atlanta. He's had 2 shots at the big time and failed. I had no idea his fielding was as bad as he has shown. It doesn't matter what he does at Gwinnett,...only a dire emergency will get him back to Atlanta, and the Braves have another prospect in AA that will get a shot before Pastornicky.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Don't blame Uggla for accepting the big contract and don't blame him for sticking it out. He took advantage of someone else's stupidity......the same thing that happens every day in the real world.

TideDawg
TideDawg

It's got to be painful for Uggla, but baseball is a team sport and every player has to be able to contribute. You're only as strong as your weakest link,.... an old cliché that never fails to be true.  On the Braves team there are 2 weak links. If you can't name both....you don't read the blogs or watch the games.


Uggla should request a stint at Gwinnett to try and keep facing live pitching. If he does well he may stir up interest from another team. He really needs a change of scenery. He may do well with another team

BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

The PA announcer should play the Guess Who's No Time when and if Uggla ever bats again.............No Time Left for You................No time left for you.............go find yourself some wings Danny Boy and fly out of Atlanta..........take BIG JOKE UPTON TOO!

cvan32802
cvan32802

He may not be a distraction in the clubhouse, but Uggla's continued presence in the dugout does not move this team's ability to advance in the playoffs, which their performance thus far would strongly suggest will be another one and done as we get excited over taking a series from the lowly Marlins or badly beat up Nats. I think it's time to end the Uggla charade and bite the bullet.   Yes, they have to pay him, and Wren and Fredi should contribute to this debacle.    Uggla is a poster child for what is wrong with this team, which should be developing its young talent instead of paying players like Uggla and BJ for their past performances on other teams.    What is even more incredible about these five year deals is I don't think that either Uggla or BJ ever had five seasons in Miami or Tampa that would justify these deals.   Instead, they had a couple of good years and the Braves, who are not the Dodgers or the Yankees with an unlimited budget, mortgaged the future of franchise on a $140 million gamble that Uggla and/or BJ could perform as they had for maybe a couple of seasons in the past.   O'Brien noted that Heyward is hitting very well after a bad April, but if he continues to hit well he's gone after next season.   Sure would be nice to have some of that $140 million that has and will be spent on Uggla/BJ to resign Heyward or some other player who is still in their prime.    Instead, whether they're in the dugout or not, Uggla and BJ's existence is symbolic of the limited future of this team.   If I don't have to see their face, I would feel better watching this team rather than seeing Uggla's non-distracting $13 million face..

StandYourGround
StandYourGround

Good bye Danny, Good bye Danny, Good Bye Danny - we will all be glad to see you GONE!!!!!

DontCareForThem
DontCareForThem

Chain an engine block to his legs and throw him off in the deepest part of Lake Lanier........cause we all know BS floats and that is all Uggla is made of is BS.

Uggla
Uggla

Daniel, when life hands you lemons you make lemonade. So keep your head up continue to walk tall because you have & I believe will continue to go further than anyone of these rude Uggla basher sack commentators. Sincerely a fan of you! From the only Uggla in Oklahoma.

mistermcfrugal
mistermcfrugal

All this points out, one mo' time!, about the foolish practice of so many teams of overpaying for talent.

TheCarnivore
TheCarnivore

Release Uggla now.  I'll play 2nd base for the major league minimum myself, and while my numbers won't measure up to most MLB 2nd basemen, they will sure be way ahead of Uggla's numbers.

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

You are eating his salary whether he plays or not. Give someone else a shot. Anybody. Hell BJ can play it.

TheoWilliams
TheoWilliams

Uggla's salary should not be a consideration.  He must be paid whether he starts, platoons, warms the bench, is traded or released.  I suspect that La Stella will be quite servicable at 2B, and Pena and Pastornicky will return to their normal production.  I just don't see Uggla doing that. 

josewales
josewales

Release Uggla NOW, there is absolutely no reason to keep him occupying a valuable roster spot also release Schafer, he is never going to be worth anything then call up Gosselin and either Cunningham or Constanza.  I know Constanza isn't much but at least he can slap a hit now and then and as good a base runner as Schafer.

LarvellBlanks
LarvellBlanks

Can you "recall" someone if they've never been called up before?

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Yes, I do disagree. There are NO signs Dan is going to turn things around, under normal circumstances his career might be over already. At this point his place is on the bench and he has virtually NO tools qualifying him for that job. He cannot hit, he does not move base runners (unless he walks or gets a rare hit), he is not versatile in the field, he is not a plus defensive player even at his primary position, and he is slow.

alicerbrown
alicerbrown

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http://www.work70.com


DrPhill
DrPhill

I agree that Uggla is a likable sort who has played well in the past. He is not a problem child like at least one of his team mates, possibly two. The problem is much bigger than Uggla.  I have been a Braves' fan since 1966.  I first went to spring baseball at West Palm in 1967 and maybe 15 times since.  I will always be a Braves' fan.  The last three years, the team has choked miserably in the post season, and that's on Fredi.  His game management is the worst I have ever seen, as evidenced by Monday's Santana/Poppy disaster and having Harang, batting .054, hitting away with the bases loaded.  I didn't watch last night and will detach for a while as these games are too painful.  The team alternates between imitating the '29 Yankees and the cast of the Walking Dead, except for occasional bat smashing and temper tantrum ( usually after striking out.)  Fredi has got to go.  Give Pendleton a chance, or bring Bobby out of retirement for the rest of the season. I expect Miami will capture first place after tonight.  I'll read about it in the morning.

ElStinko
ElStinko

Release Uggs. You can't play him because he cant hit.  You can't pinch Hit him.  His defense is sub par (cost the Braves at least 1 game with errors at 2nd this year).  He is probably a cancer on the team while sitting on the bench.

BubbaDee
BubbaDee

The acquisition of players via Free Agency is predicated on their past performance. Many FA's had numbers that were reflective of the PED era and not their natural ability. Many teams not just the local one got taken by this and now they are paying on Contracts that were earned erroneously...

JackClemens
JackClemens

How is it possible to have so many inept hitters on one major league roster? I mean, seriously, how is that possible?

extremus
extremus

The Atlanta Braves should set a new standard of policy for MLB and no longer offer ANY guaranteed free agent contracts.  Pay and extensions should be based upon the quality of services rendered, which in turn should be standardized at some point by MLB so that it's clear on both sides what the expectations/requirements to receive X amount of money are.  And I mean, why should that be deemed so shocking and unfair by some?  It's how the rest of us have to live, the general conditions by which the rest of us have to work.  Sports athletes have been given such ridiculous privileges that they've come to feel entitled to them.  "Market value" because so and so got paid this amount?  Give me a break.  It's time for this to END.


Not that I'm saying it will ever happen, of course.  But after the Mike Hampton debacle, Uggla, Kawakami, BJ Upton, and others who've come in, been paid guaranteed millions, and then stunk it up if they ever played at all, I think the Braves would be justified in making such a policy, even if it means fewer/no free agents for them in the short term.  Other MLB teams have likewise been bitten by these absurd contracts and would follow suit if someone took the lead and forced the issue, I would bet.

Joeyfalcon32
Joeyfalcon32

Of course Uggla is going to handle his demotion well... What are you going to say when your batting 180 two 1/2 years in a row and you make 13 million a year and you get benched....If MLB contracts were structured like NFL contracts which allows teams to cut dead weight that's sucking resources, Uggla and Upton would be producing now.... when u tell a guy were going to guarantee you 13 mill a year whether you produce or not, what do you expect...?? You honestly think he is going to stay late and come early till he works it out if he knows he gets paid regardless...Its such a coincidence how the very year after upton and Uggla get filthy rich, their play becomes equally filthy, for the first time in their careers... WHAT ARE THE ODDS FOR TWO PlAYERS on the same team to have that happen to them right after their guarenteed 80 million...shocker..

TheMonger
TheMonger

To prove my point further... This is the list of Braves "hitters" who are below their career Batting Averages this year with the Braves.....

1. Chris Johnson, Career .286 hitter.  This year .258. 28 point drop.

2. Dan Uggla, Career .244 hitter.  This year .177. 67 point drop.

3. BJ Upton, Career  .246 hitter.  This year .210. 36 point drop.

4. Ramiro Pena, Career .233 hitter. This year .164. 69 point drop.

5. Tyler Pastornicky, Career .244 hitter.  This year .200. 44 point drop.

6. Jason Heyward, Career .257 hitter.  This year .238.  19 point drop

7. Gerald Laird, Career .246 hitter.  This year .217. 29 point drop

8. Jordan Schafer, Career .224 hitter.  This year .107. 117 point drop

9. Ryan Doumit, Career .267 hitter.  This year .231. 36 point drop

That is 9 of our 13 hitters on the team this year, hitting well below their career averages.  Only Freeman, J. Upton, Simmons, and Gattis are above their career averages.  Simmons, Freeman, and J. Upton are the only players on the team hitting higher than .259!!!  There is something DRASTICALLY WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!!!!

TheMonger
TheMonger

What are y'all gonna say when Uggla gets cut and then goes to the Reds or Phillies or whoever and becomes his true self again, and hits .250-.260 with 30 homers and 90 RBI?  I am disappointed with Uggla as any Braves fan is, however, I realize this is a systematic problem that runs deep within the Braves organization as it relates to hitters.  Hitters come here and take severe nosedives.  That is an organizational problem that needs to be addressed and it is much more than Uggla.  Too many examples outside of Uggla, but I will try.  We can go back all the way to Andruw Jones sharp decline in his later years with the Braves, from a 50 homer guy to not even being able to make contact.  Its not just power hitters either... Remember Greg Norton's disappearing act?  From one of the premier pinch hitters in the game to a .150 hitter the next year with the Braves?  Nate McLouth was a half way decent outfielder with the Pirates.  He hit around .280 or so the year before he gets to the Braves and then suddenly he's down to .230 and .210 and .190 and dropping.  His power even left him as well.  BJ Upton obviously never a great hitter, comes to the Braves a year after hitting .246 and then hits .183 his first season in Atlanta a 60 point drop in his batting average in one year?  As soon as he gets to the Braves?  I don't even think McLouth dropped off that bad.  Heyward's average has dropped off every year since his rookie season, when the Braves "mindset" hadn't yet creeped into his brain and affected his hitting, now his average has dropped off a cliff.  Francouer dropped off a cliff after a year with the Braves, Chris Johnson is regressing this year, Ryan Doumit is regressing this year big time, Laird is regressing in his 2nd year with the Braves.  They are all walks of players (veterans, rookies, infielders, outfielders, etc).  It is a curse that once a hitter joins the Braves you can 100 PERCENT GARAUNTEE that there batting average, and usually their power will take a nosedive after one of two years....GARAUNTEED!!!  Can anyone think of some more examples?  When was the last hitter the Braves signed that exceeded or even lived up to expectations?  Sheffield, maybe?

BravesFanForever
BravesFanForever

The Braves philosophy needs to change since they are gunshy about signing free agents and acquiring high priced players through trade. Yes there will be failures! All teams go through this and frankly the Braves scenario with Uggla is NOTHING compared some other albatross contracts these other teams have had to eat for dinner. So what I see is this: Sign or trade for players who are more sure things. Don't go for big swing, high strikeout guys. Go for high average, more on base guys. They win games just was well as the free swingers. The guys who hit for higher average are MORE CONSISTENT not only while they are at the plate but also from year to year because they are basically better hitters. They don't go through long slumps and they don't suddenly lose it. 

The Braves should try to develop their own power hitters. They are in BIG demand nowadays along with pitching. So to put the Braves in their best position they should develop what is most needed and trade for the on base guys.

BravesFanForever
BravesFanForever

Listen Jeff... If the Braves dump Uggla and replace his spot with La Stella who basically costs nothing from baseball standards, then what they have to lose with paying off this contract? It would be like Uggla never left but they would get better production. I don't see the issue. The overall Braves budget wouldn't change. It's not like you need to free up budget space to ACQUIRE another $13 million second baseman. La Stella is FREE. 


Bottomline: Budget doesn't change for two years. Dump Uggla.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

I would try to trade him....I'll bet a change of scenery would do wonders for him and BJ both.....it just hasn't worked out here.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@mistermcfrugal  They have the money to blow on bad contracts. If they lived on Social Security they would be careful with their money. You can't make money mistakes on SS.

NathanChapman
NathanChapman

@josewales Schafer is the best defensive outfielder in the organization, he is a scrappy hitter and excellent base runner, he has learned his role well and plays hard when given the chance, your analysis is way off on this one, would love to see him every day in CF over BJ until he flat out proves he can't help the team

NathanChapman
NathanChapman

@DawgDadII all very good reasons to cut him no matter how much money is involved, totally agree

bulldawg14
bulldawg14

@DrPhill Yeah that Harang decision was definitely a head-scratcher. Old Harangatang should have been taking pitches the entire at bat. We would have been better off if he struck out.

NathanChapman
NathanChapman

@BubbaDee me thinks Ugly Dan may become the posterchild for this argument, would love to see some numbers on his bat speed, before/after becoming a Brave

bulldawg14
bulldawg14

@extremus I completely agree, but like you said, probably won't ever happen. Like most folks, I get a new contract annually at my job, and it only lasts for that one year. If I performed as badly in my job as Uggla has in his, it wouldn't matter how good I was at it 5 years ago or how nice of a guy I am. I'd be gone within months, and honestly, I wouldn't blame them for showing me the door. 


Can you imagine how much more these professional athletes would produce every year if they weren't guaranteed millions over the span of the next 5, 6, 7 years? 

RowdyYates
RowdyYates

@extremus All MLB contracts are guaranteed per collective bargaining agreement. 

JeffinRaleigh
JeffinRaleigh

@Joeyfalcon32 So who put the gun to Frank Wren's head and forced him to extend Uggla, when statistical analysis strongly pointed toward Uggla being a bad risk in his 30s? 


Also, do you really think Uggla doesn't care that he's playing so badly that he is not able to start any longer? Do you really think he would be playing better if his contract were not guaranteed?


This issue isn't about motivation, and it's silly to point it that way. Your comments about the wisdom of guaranteed contracts are well-taken.

Dockins2
Dockins2

@Joeyfalcon32 you can't lump @BJUPTON2 with Uggla. Uggla has sustained problems over an extended period. BJ had an off year last year as do MANY passionate pitchers/players who are traded to a new team, playing for a new coach, advised by new hitting coach, with new teammates, in a new stadium, etc etc. 

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

@TheMonger Bring back Pendleton to hitting coach. At least when Pendleton was hitting coach, they got on base at a high rate, even if their averages weren't impressive.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@Iluvnutella


Anyway we can trade you off the blog and let you go back to wearing your white sheets and pointy hats?

Calel
Calel

@Iluvnutella


If you were a GM, what would you offer the Braves for Uggla? And how much of his salary would you be willing to pick up? 


seminoleking
seminoleking

@NajehDavenpoop @TheMonger but, but, but, remember, they said pendleton was the problem...........lol funny  how you never hear anything of replacing larry walker.

UncleTom
UncleTom

@inoto20 @RowdyYates @extremus In this case, you're close to correct.  But read a history book and you'll see that unions are responsible for the rise of the middle class in America.