Posted: 1:04 pm Monday, August 4th, 2014

Dan Uggla rejects demotion, out of job again 

By Jeff Schultz

Dan Uggla looked under control with San Francisco in this snapshot but he wasn't. (AP)

Dan Uggla looked under control with San Francisco in this snapshot but he wasn’t. (AP)

I understand this probably isn’t going to elicit much sympathy, given that Dan Uggla still has about another $18 million coming his way (and unless he has been using stacks of hundreds for kindling in the winter, he doesn’t need another $18 million).

But seriously: What happened to him?

It’s rare that the bottom falls out of a player’s career as dramatically as we’ve seen with the former Braves’ second baseman. Having been signed by San Francisco two weeks ago following his release in Atlanta, Uggla is out of a job again. The Giants designated him for assignment and there are multiple reports that he declined to be sent to Triple-A.

In other words, he’s back on the street. OK, a really nice street.

Uggla played in four games with the Giants. He went 0-for-11 with six strikeouts, a walk and a run scored. He also committed three errors. It was an absolute meltdown. He had been given a second chance by a team in a pennant race and was one of the best organizations in baseball. The Giants, of course, took little financial risk with the signing so they won’t have to live with a financial hangover, unlike the Braves.

Again: What happened to this guy?

Putting aside for a moment whether the Braves way overspent for Uggla – hindsight: duh – he was a career .263 hitter in Florida and in his last season with the Marlins hit .287 with 33 homers and 105 RBIs.

Uggla retained his power at the outset with the Braves, hitting 36 homers with 82 RBIs in his first season. But his home run output declined to 19 and 22 in the next two years and he had only two in 130 at-bats this year with Atlanta.

His drop-off in batting average also was pronounced. He went from .287 in 2010 with the Marlins to .233, .220, .179 and .162 over the next four seasons (before being released). I actually thought San Francisco was a prime landing spot for Uggla but obviously he’s more messed up than I imagined.

When I spoke to Uggla at length in spring training – you can find the column linked here  – he admitted he was a psychological mess last season:

“I was in a bad place last year. A real bad place. Somehow I hit 22 homers. Don’t ask me how.

“It was awful. And the second half of 2012 was awful. I got into so many bad habits. It’s not just that my swing was messed up. My legs were messed up. My head. I was a mess. Something would work in the (batting) cage but not the game. I was like, ‘Why isn’t this working?’”

He was confident of a turnaround this season. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

Sometimes athletes perform better in relative anonymity with bad organizations. Sometimes there’s pressure living up to a big contract. Everybody is going to have their own theory what happened. But it’s stunning how bad Uggla became in a short period of time.

Regardless of whether Uggla plays again, the Braves must live with him on their payroll for another season.

 Some recent ramblings (free links)
– MyAJC: Pruitt winning over Georgia in ways Grantham didn’t
– MyAJC: We’ll find out how right or wrong Frank Wren is
– Blog: It’s trade deadline day…and it’s quiet here
– MyAJC: Braves hamstrung by finances at trade deadline
– Blog: Urban Meyer gets it wrong on Tim Tebow
– MyAJC: Braves’ best postseason hope is starting pitching
– MyAJC: Steven Jackson: ‘I kind of believed my own hype’
– Blog: Poll: Falcons open camp, what’s your playoff pick?
– MyAJC: Falcons open with more questions than buzz
– MyAJC: Georgia still recruiting too many of wrong kids
– Blog: Giants take a chance on Dan Uggla
– Blog: June Jones whiffs on spring football idea
– MyAJC: Back to reality: Payne a nice pick for Hawks
 
 
129 comments
Sedna1
Sedna1

I think it's possible Uggla's problems are due to deteriorating eyesight. He had chronic problems with his eyes as a Brave. I believe he had astigmatism that just kept getting worse, and laser correction apparently didn't help. It would account for both his batting and fielding woes.


Admitting to a chronic eye condition would surely mean the end of his career, so perhaps he's buying time hoping his eyesight will improve or something can still be done medically.

RichardKirby
RichardKirby

I have a question. Why doesn't Uggla get quality psychological help? I wrote his agent, never heard from him. For that matter, why didn't the Braves get him help and try and protect their investment? I don't get it. Is it all just ego? I know someone who could probably get his batting average up 50 points...

toybuilt
toybuilt

F this guy. I have no sympathy for him because after these years of embarrassing himself, he thinks he is too good to go to AAA and try to get his game back.

Marvel_Goose
Marvel_Goose

Uggla killed us when he was a Marlin. He killed us when he was a Brave. And now he'll continue to kill us for about a year and a half more as he pulls down dollars for not working.

MikeS777
MikeS777

Sounds like Uggla needs to take a step back from Baseball and just get his head right.  Leave it behind for a year, and then try to make a come back.  With his head all messed up, its just going to follow him to a new team.  Now maybe over time, he gets it sorted out with the Giants, but he would have to swallow his pride and accept the assignment to AAA.  Go down there, work with a great organization, and eventually work his issues out.  He has to be willing to do whatever it takes.  Clearly right now, he's not in the right sorts to do that.

davidv14
davidv14

Like I said before, Dan Uggla will play in Japan, next year!!! He be dumb not to because he lost his confident hitting with the Braves.

Columbus68
Columbus68

Uggla lost it for whatever the reason.  Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. Whether it was all in his head or his swing or off the juice or he got paid and stopped giving it his all or a combination who knows.  I thought he would get it back after a season or 2 at most.  Something unusual with him.  I mean he looks so off balance and out-of-sync.  Ive been there.  You are not staying back and start your swing way too early, your weight shifts forward too soon, all arms.  Do not know why he cant slow it down and stay back.  He should try a much heavier bat that will FORCE a slow down that he needs. 

Marmoset
Marmoset

dan probably has 10 million banked and another 18 million on the way--why work?  head to the beach with a couple of young hot chicks, some frozen drinks and live the good life!!!

GTBee
GTBee

Is this the San Fran Journal Constitution or the Atlanta one? Stick to writing about current players on our teams.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Hey Schultzie, is it true that Liberty Media now charges a fee for space in the press box at Turner? I also heard they took out the snack table and replaced it with high priced vending machine and installed a pay toilet and fee-for-service internet.

Cousingeorgestone
Cousingeorgestone

Took Sabes one week to see in Uggla what it took dumb and dumber Wren 3 PAINFUL years to figure out….

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

WHOOOHOO we got the Negative aura goin' today!  This is what the dumpster fire that is Atlanta sports will do to people. Don't worry, we got "Hard Knocks" to watch our fruitless Fouls star in. Bet theyll be showin out for that. Maybe the Squawks can go on a big win streak in DECEMBER, when it really matters. Maybe we can get one of those teams that Kiss owns to play here. Perfect fit.

TomGaff
TomGaff

Don't blame Dan for refusing to go to AAA! Probably unable to hit there also. Perhaps Rookie or A ball might revive his hitting, maybe not though? Feel the same way about $15 million dollar man BJ Upton! Wonder if Japan would take these two?

JackClemens
JackClemens

Sometimes people lose interest in working after they win the lottery. How is that contract any different?

Wilbo
Wilbo

@TampGator


@TampGator1 @TampGator1  


I don't need to do research, TrampGator, I was there.


Chipper the Dipper Jones - did you ever read the AJC's "Cipper Talks where our marvelous 3rd baseman proved his IQ was at least 80? - singlehandedly caused the losses of the 2000 DS against the Cardinals w lackluster errors the last game of the season that lost us home field and then more in the series itself. Chipper playing soccer w the baseball in the 2002 DS against the Giants gave ab's to Barry Bonds he would never have gotten, and directly caused the Braves to blow that series. Your team leaders choke, your team wilts, that's baseball.


And you're defending mlb's losingest postseason pitcher ever because he faced good batters in October? Who might you think postseason pitchers throw to? the Little Sisters of the Poor? If you check the games where the Braves were actually eliminated from the postseason in the 14 years division title run, you might think Glaivine's initial are LP. Wonder what Glavine's ERA is in elimination games against? 6? 8? 10?


You're so lucky not to have seen his pathetic performance 10/14/98 against the Padres. He cracked like a china doll. Braves ousted, I was there. Marlins got a little help from Eric Gregg in the 97 NLCS, but in the Braves' elimination game, Glavine LP. Sound familiar? Then there is always 10/21/2001. Braves knocked out by the Diamondbacks, what 2 letters do ya think might be attached to Tom Glavine's name that day? You guessed it-- LP! Was that the game when asked about his limp performance he famously said, "I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep over it"? 


Nah, that was probably after the Padres' game. Point is, Glavine's, sleepy faced Doggy Boy Maddux's, and slow, slow slowwwwwww talking' Chipper's "ah, well, maybe we'll get 'em next time attitude" perfectly reflect Booby Cox's and the Bravos' no fire demeanor that got them whipped in postseason after postseason after postseason and earned them their pathetic and embarrassing reputation for flopping in Major League's Baseball's most important time- the postseason.

BoboIsNotTheProblem
BoboIsNotTheProblem

Ha, idiots talking about pitchers' won-loss records again.  Oh, the insanity.

It is funny how the Braves keep making the same mistakes.  Uggla and BJ are two of the worst acquisitions in history.  Massive, massive, MASSIVE payroll invested in two HORRIBLE players, at the very bottom in productivity at their positions (or ANY position save pitcher!).  Something is rotten with the scouting/analysis in Denmark.  Somebody call Billy Beane, please.  Maybe the Braves should check out the OBP stat.  You've got to get on base to score.

BigIrishMike
BigIrishMike

It is too late for Dan to sign up for Murphy Candler  little league maybe an East Cobb travel team can use him.

TampGator1
TampGator1

Wilbo.....


Please review again.


Tom Glavine in the postseason:

Overall - 14 wins and 16 losses.  Overall ERA 3.30. 218.1 IP and only 191 hits.  This coming against some of the best baseball players and teams in the game at the time.   World Series record: 4 wins and 3 losses, with an ERA of 2.16, including a shutout, 1-0 win over Cleveland to give the Braves their only WS title under Bobby Cox in 14 playoff tries.


Greg Maddux in the postseason:

Overall - 11 wins and 14 losses.  Overall ERA 3.27.  198 IP and only 191 hits.  Again, this coming against some of the best baseball players and teams in the game at the time.  Word Series record: 2-3 with a 2.09 ERA.


Chipper Jones in the postseason:

11 NLDA games....hit .272 with 9 HRs and 26 RBIs

6 NLCS games....hit .315 with 3 HRs and 15 RBIs

3 WS games....hit .273 with 1 HR and 6 RBIs


Maybe Glavine and Maddux lost so many postseason games because they appeared in more than most players ever could imagine appearing, and because Bobby Cox refused to play small ball in the playoffs and support either one of them with runs in the playoffs.  The above stats are outstanding from all three players and the Braves would have won a bunch more titles if Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre had been managing the Braves at the time, and especially if they had these three outstanding post season players on their team.


For example, Whitey Ford was considered one of the great postseason pitchers in his time and in history with a great string of powerful hitting Yankee teams.  Here is his postseason record: 


10 wins and 8 losses with a 2.71 ERA.   146 IP and 132 hits......all in World Series games.  Both Glavine (2.16 ERA) and Maddux (2.09 ERA) had better ERAs than Ford in World Series games, and they pitched in the steroid period without Berra, Maris, and Mantle in the lineup.


Suggestion.....do a little research before coming on and degrading hall of fame pitchers and a future hall of fame third baseman on here.   

TampGator1
TampGator1

B.J. was obviously using PEDs with the Rays, as Uggla was with the Marlins.  No doubt with either player. No other explanation for the rapid decline of their baseball skills since signing long term contracts with the Braves. Davis with Baltimore is experiencing the same sudden decline.  These long term deals in baseball are killing the game in my opinion.....as PED use made a mockery of the game with Bonds, McGuire, and Sosa (and I have no doubt Chipper used them for a few years as well).  

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

All this SPECULATION about Dan's problems is a result of the void in REPORTING (Journalism). I mean, if the guy has personal medical issues, report that he has medical issues of a personal nature, period. If it's something else it shouldn't be a secret. I've seen this many times before, notably with the Garry Templeton meltdown in St. Louis and treatment for "chemical imbalance".


If you say it doesn't matter, well, it does to a lot of people. A whole era of baseball players have a black cloud of suspicion hanging over them, keeping some out of the Hall of Fame and perhaps other lucrative endeavors. So, the club and player's union should have a vested interest in at least saying this is a medical matter or otherwise. Baseball people should not be complaining about the cloud of suspicion when they run and hide for cover and refuse to confront the problems.

TampGator1
TampGator1

MichBravesFan........at least Frank Wren and Dan Uggla can write a grammatically correct sentence. 

theoriginaltruth
theoriginaltruth

PEDs ?


PED's gone....Danny's gone.....


Braves' money gone.....

MichBravesFan
MichBravesFan

In 2 1/2 years this article will be written about BJ Upton and how he refuses a AAA assignment after Braves' cut him and ate his remaining $15 million salary. 

MichBravesFan
MichBravesFan

Does Dan not realize just how awful he is to reject a demotion as if he's too good to go to AAA? 

BobStrickland
BobStrickland

The Braves might have a few more wins if they had cut him in May.  

sal2177
sal2177

That's part of his problem.  He's too arrogant to realize that he needs to work out his issues in the minors before returning to the hitter he once was in the majors.  Everyone has lapses in their careers.  Whether it's learning a new skill or taking a refresher course, it happens to almost all of us.  There's no shame in it.  However when you refuse to humble yourself and admit your faults, that's when you are beyond help.  I personally don't care if he ever plays in the majors again.  It would be sad however if he had the opportunity to and didn't because he couldn't face reality.

DEW5
DEW5

We have to stop paying these stars on past performance... They can still get the contract for the great money, but it must be incentivized for the future..... These great players of the past that fail to produce in the future should not hang their teams out to dry financially..  This is nuts.... 

RONMERIDIAN
RONMERIDIAN

Can we say juicing? I mean cmon Uggla was on something in Miami to produce there and off of it once extension signed with the Braves.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Okay, I get it that's it's now a trendy thing in Braves circles to trash Dan Uggla and BJ et al as if these hapless newcomers brought some kind of impotent poisoned spirit into the Braves clubhouse. 


Horse hockey.


Look at it for a moment from Uggla and BJ's perspective: what if you were a major league baseball player w pride in you accomplishments in baseball and you were sent to the dung heap of baseball-- the Atlanta Braves? The team known throughout America for its gutless impotence in the postseason. How would you feel if you were trundled off to join such a cowardly dispirited group? 


And ask yourself these questions: did the Braves perform any better in the postseason when it counts when the sacred cow Chipper Jones was here? Nope, stunk in the postseason when the big prize was on the line. Did the Braves perform any better when the sacred cow Tommy Glavine was here? Nope, Tommy Glavine holds MLB's record as the losingest pitcher in postseason history, particularly putrid in elimination games against. Braves stunk in the postseason when it counts. Did the Braves perform any better when the sacred cow Greg Maddux was here? Nope, Maddux is one notch behind Glavine as the 2nd losingest pitcher in MLB postseason history, and the Braves stunk in October. Did the Braves perform any better in October when the sacred cow Booby Cox was here. Nope, Cox is the most impotent, incompetent manager coach whatever of any kind to take teams into the championship rounds of American professional sports and his teams stunk in October. Booby Cox took 16 teams, many of them regular season powerhouses, into the playoffs and won 1 championship. 1 out of 16! Nobody can come anywhere close to matching that. Not even in the stupid sport of hockey where basically all you have to do to get into postseason play is know where the arena is at the end of the regular season.


The Braves have stunk it up pathetically for many many years before the arrival of BJ and Uggla. BJ and Uggla aren't causes of the pathetic cowardly impotence of the Atlanta Braves, they are victims of it.

Heartsinfrisco
Heartsinfrisco

Who is advising him?unless he wants to retire and be with the kids,he has to get some at bats.John,Liz, talk to your boy. I love Dan, but he's making very poor choices.

parabrave
parabrave

Hey the braves could hire him back at an hourly wage to he a locker buddy to Freeman.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@GTBee Hey, Schooltzee Face! GTBee told you!

Heartsinfrisco
Heartsinfrisco

7AB at Fresno.two hits two walks,two SO,flyout to wall.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@JackClemens Sometimes athletes lose interest in doing the hard work, making the ultimate effort when they get sent to a terrible organization like the sickly postseason choking Atlanta Braves.


And who could blame them?

Columbus68
Columbus68


@WilboWOW, Do you EVER focus in positives?  Were you a fan of the Braves in the 80's?  Do you not think talking about positives like a record of division titles, several world series trips and dozens of memorable moments the Braves brought us?  ALL players screw up and make mistakes and errors....but you focus on that?  You must be a miserable human being to be around with that attitude and storage of bad memories and heartbreak.  Your museum?  It must be so awesome to be perfect and NEVER blunder or screw up.  I assume you NEVER played sports because if you DID.....I am sure you would have made a tom of them and then WE could all harp on them and live in the past.  You need an attitude adjustment.  A huge one.  You are an embarrassment to the human race and ALL REAL BRAVES FANS who are over 40. 

TampGator1
TampGator1

@Wilbo 


Numbers don't lie in this case concerning the three players, all of which will be in the hall of fame.....that is all I can post to you.  Emotions lie most of the time.  But I agree that Bobby Cox was the main reason the Braves did not win more WS titles.  He was a horrible post season manager and made repeated bone headed decisions in multiple games that cost the Braves chances to win more championships....with the worst one being him putting in lefty Charlie Leibrandt in relief (had no pitched in relief all year) to face perhaps the best right handed hitter in baseball at the time, Kirby Puckett, in game 6 with the game on the line.  Result.....game winning homer and the Braves went on to lose game seven in one of the greatest single WS games in the history of baseball. 

jeffreyd
jeffreyd

@BoboIsNotTheProblem Without using hindsight, how can you say that trading a utility infielder and a reliever for the reigning All Star and Silver Slugger at 2B (who had just posted a .287 average with 33 homeruns) and then extending him was a bad move? And considering his average, Dan's OBP hasn't been bad since coming to the Braves. He'll get walks.


I'll give you BJ Upton. I felt like the length and amount of his contract were way too much. But nobody knew he'd be THIS bad. He's well off his career numbers.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TampGator1: ". . . the Braves would have won a bunch more titles if . . . ."

______________________

Woulda, coulda, shoulda, if.

Typical tg1 post, trying weakly--and failing miserably--to defend the indefensible.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@TampGator1 @TampGator1


I don't need to do research, TrampGator, I was there.


Chipper the Dipper Jones - did you ever read the AJC's "Cipper Talks where our marvelous 3rd baseman proved his IQ was at least 80? - singlehandedly caused the losses of the 2000 DS against the Cardinals w lackluster errors the last game of the season that lost us home field and then more in the series itself. Chipper playing soccer w the baseball in the 2002 DS against the Giants gave ab's to Barry Bonds he would never have gotten, and directly caused the Braves to blow that series. Your team leaders choke, your team wilts, that's baseball.


And you're defending mlb's losingest postseason pitcher ever because he faced good batters in October? Who might you think postseason pitchers throw to? the Little Sisters of the Poor? If you check the games where the Braves were actually eliminated from the postseason in the 14 years division title run, you might think Glaivine's initial are LP. Wonder what Glavine's ERA is in elimination games against? 6? 8? 10?


You're so lucky not to have seen his pathetic performance 10/14/98 against the Padres. He cracked like a china doll. Braves ousted, I was there. Marlins got a little help from Eric Gregg in the 97 NLCS, but in the Braves' elimination game, Glavine LP. Sound familiar? Then there is always 10/21/2001. Braves knocked out by the Diamondbacks, what 2 letters do ya think might be attached to Tom Glavine's name that day? You guessed it-- LP! Was that the game when asked about his limp performance he famously said, "I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep over it"? 


Nah, that was probably after the Padres' game. Point is, Glavine's, sleepy faced Doggy Boy Maddux's, and slow, slow slowwwwwww talking' Chipper's "ah, well, maybe we'll get 'em next time attitude" perfectly reflect Booby Cox's and the Bravos' no fire demeanor that got them whipped in postseason after postseason after postseason and earned them their pathetic and embarrassing reputation for flopping in Major League's Baseball's most important time- the postseason.

TampGator1
TampGator1

Although I do believe Chipper did use PEDs during his couple of prolific HR years.........otherwise, he was just a 15 to 20 HR type of player with excellent hitting skills who would have made the HOF without using them. I think he used and then stopped using, resulting in some of his physical challenges after he stopped.  But just one person's perspective. 

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

@DEW5  We?....u mean Frank Wren dude..HE SUX! Apparently if u suck as a GM in any sport u come here to work.

Techsters2005
Techsters2005

@Wilbo  You need to use a Thesaurus (it's a book that gives you more options or words so you don't have to keep using the same simple ones over and over)

jackbmatt
jackbmatt

@Wilbo Well, there is something to be said for getting there that many times...but having said that, hard to argue with your point.

Heartsinfrisco
Heartsinfrisco

Not a bad idea.Braves have to pay him,he might as well be here to look fine..

Wilbo
Wilbo

@TampGator1 @Wilbo I will never forget watching poor old worn out Charley Liebrandt walking out to the mound. Seemed like everybody in the room where I was watching knew that was a horrible mistake in the making. Gratitude and loyalty can be so funny. Liebrandt's contribution was so important to the team getting to October 1991, but by that time Liebrandt was done, tired, worn down for the year and like you say not experienced pitching in relief. Hated that move. Really, really hated it, but then again if Lonnie hadn't gotten deeked by Chuck Knoblaugh, Braves would have won the 91 Series, anyway. That's the Braves, though, always finding a way for somebody to choke away the big games. 


Chipper, Klesko, Avery, Wohlers, Glavine, Cox, Liebrandt, Lonnie Smith, the little guy whose last name I think starts w a B who dropped that fly in left field... Always somebody. The spirit of this team is tainted and corrupt, nothing else to say. It's terrible.


Numbers may not lie, but liars can manipulate numbers. Glavine was awful when the chips were down, I would never ever vote that son of a gun into the HOF. Never.