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Dan Uggla continues to be terrible and the Braves might be ready to bench him again

May 5, 2014, 12:48 PM EDT

dan uggla getty Getty Images

Atlanta left Dan Uggla off the postseason roster in favor of light-hitting utility man Elliot Johnson and now it sounds like the Braves may be close to benching Uggla again.

He’s hit just .190 with 30 strikeouts in 27 games, ruining any notion that eye surgery could fix his rapid decline, and Mark Bowman of MLB.com speculates that prospect Tommy La Stella “might soon be promoted” from Triple-A to replace Uggla at second base.

Uggla is still owed more than $20 million, but that money is a sunk cost at this point and it doesn’t help the Braves to keep trotting him out there solely to avoid eating the rest of the contract. Bowman notes that Uggla has hit .186 with a .657 OPS in 265 games dating back to mid-2012.

La Stella is hardly considered an elite prospect and he’s got a measly .333 slugging percentage at Triple-A as a 25-year-old, but he also has a .372 on-base percentage with more walks than strikeouts and has gotten on base at a fantastic .408 clip for his career. La Stella and Uggla are about as different as two hitters can be in terms of their approach and skill set, and it’d be tough to blame for Braves for wanting to try the other extreme after watching Uggla flail away for the past few seasons.

  1. edelmanfanclub - May 5, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    He still has power, but really cant help anyone that this point. Amazing he was coming off a .287/.369/.508 season and his time in ATL he has hit .212/.319/.397, either outright him off the roster or cut him..

    • Francisco (FC) - May 5, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      He’s Atlanta’s version of Jason Bay.

      • tsi431 - May 5, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        We have another Jason Bay here in New York (Granderson).

    • cartacayridge - May 5, 2014 at 4:11 PM

      THANK GOD !!
      HE STINKS!!
      TAKE BJ UPTON WITH YOU !!

    • swimmer2010 - May 6, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      Imagine what the braves might be if they had the SECOND WORST 2nd baseman and center fielder in all of baseball….instead they have the WORST and PAY THROUGH THE NOSE for these two DUDS…if Ugly Dan and Brake Job had ANY SENSE OF SHAME they would donate 95% of their STOLEN SALARIES to charity…

  2. Old Gator - May 5, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Sad to see one of the heroes of the Teal Titans mired in irreversible decline. He was always a good guy at the field box rail, quick with a quip and happy to sign autographs as long as the kids kept asking for them, even though children are horrible. But when it leaves ya, it leaves ya. Hang in there, Dan, and go buy yourself a used copy of What Color is your Parachute from Amazon. Good bench reading.

    • moseskkim - May 5, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      old gator, you are sooo weird. its sorta good, sorta bad. i guess not so bad except i HATE when you comment gezundheit whenever shin soo choo is mentioned.

      • Old Gator - May 5, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        Gezundtheit!

  3. bolweevils2 - May 5, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    The parallels between the Uggla situation and the BJ Upton situation are worrisome if you’re a Braves fan. Both came to the team with a solid track record and hasn’t hit a lick for the Braves. In both cases they looked at eye problems as the possible cause. For Uggla it doesn’t seem to have worked, but the early returns on Uptons glasses are positive.

    Upton is also 5 years younger, so it’s less likely that he is suddenly washed up. Not impossible, but less likely than Uggla.

    • dondada10 - May 5, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      At least BJU gives you some sort of defensive value.

    • cartacayridge - May 5, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      Upton is 1 for 2014 with runners in scoring position.
      He also hits in the 2 hole, and he cant even make contact.
      The entire lineup is hitting out of position because of him.

  4. lamarlina2011 - May 5, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    The Braves deserve him as well as Freddy. #LETSGOFISH

    • chc4 - May 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      A Marlins fans smack talking… now that’s rich! Enjoy your one tenth filled stadium.

  5. punksinplay - May 5, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    At what point is a guy no longer considered a baseball player? Uggla is a MLB player in name only. He bears no resemblance to a professional whatsoever. And $20 mil still owed to him… wow.

    • sportsfan18 - May 5, 2014 at 5:59 PM

      At what point? When their guaranteed contracts are over… The Braves gave him a 5 yr $62 million contract ($13 million each of the last 4 yrs of the contract). He’s in yr 4 of this contract and whether they keep him on the bench or not, he gets paid…

      He’ll be beyond lucky if he gets even a veteran’s minimum contract for even 1 season after this contract is up from anyone…

      But, he’ll have earned over $75 million in his career by the end of next season so hopefully he’s saved some or is now saving big time realizing he’ll most likely no longer be earning a fat MLB salary after next season…

      His nice penthouse condo in downtown Buckhead is for sale by the way… It covers the entire top floor of the building and has the largest private terrace of any condo in Atlanta.

      He put it up for sale in Jan of this year, 2014.

      ALSO, around November of last year, Uggla put his 6,300 sq ft house 20 miles south of Nashville, TN for sale so he currently has two nice homes for sale…

      Cost savings anyone? He knows his paydays are coming to an end after next season…

  6. bgrillz - May 5, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    I remember when Giants fans crushed Sabes for not going after this guy when he was a free agent! Uggla and Jason Bay. They won 2 rings, one year with Renteria and Uribe. And another with Scutaro and Pence. And these guys are about to be out of baseball. This is why the fans aren’t the GM.

    • 18thstreet - May 5, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      Every GM makes mistakes. I think the key is to judge them on their moves in the aggregate, not any individual move. There’s exceptions, I suppose. If you’re going to sink a huge portion of your team’s budget into one player, it better be the right one.

      That the Braves keep winning makes me think that Wren knows what he’s doing.

    • tuberippin - May 5, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      Counterpoint: He keeps re-signing Tim Lincecum.

    • ayoforyayo - May 5, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      Uggla was never a free agent. He was traded to the Braves, then he signed an extension.

  7. tvguy22 - May 5, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    I read this one with glee, man.

  8. yahmule - May 5, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Contact rate the last three years:
    2011 – 74%
    2012 – 68%
    2013 – 62%

    K rate the last three years:
    2011 – 23.2%
    2012 – 26.7%
    2013 – 31.8%

    The question is why the Braves still thought he could be a viable major league starter this season.

  9. southernmaster - May 5, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    It’s too bad because Uggla is a good guy & you won’t find a better teammate.

    • 18thstreet - May 5, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      Don’t great teammates help a team win?

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - May 5, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Sure, as long as they can play a little too.

    • harrycanyon - May 5, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      Because they are stuck with him and his 13 mil a year salary. That’s a lot of money to write off and bench. I’m all for eating our losses and letting him sit on a permanent basis, but it’s not the fans writing the checks. Blame Gonzalez.. he needed one of his guys to come to Atlanta with him, and his guy turned out to be a tumor.

  10. billgatesbarber - May 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Noooooooooooooo!

  11. brave3679 - May 5, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    Braves are never the Braves unless they keep everyone close, Lets go on a 7 game loosing streak…So The Nationals can catch up….Well they will tonight “Nationals will be in first” way to go Braves!!!

  12. nobs3 - May 5, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Uggla and BJ aren’t the only Braves not hitting. The entire team — even Chris Johnson — seems to be trying to pull every pitch and yank it out of the yard. That approach has led to the current losing streak, where the team left 25+ runners on base in the 3-game series with SF.

    It’s way past time to replace batting coach, Greg Walker. If you check Walker’s past record, his only “success” was with the White Sox, when they set team records for home runs in a season, as well as for hitting 200+ HRs in at least 1/2 dozen consecutive seasons.

    But what that tells me is that Walker’s emphasis is on the long ball — NOT on driving in runners with singles and doubles. His “all or nothing” approach loses too many close games, and typically fails in the post season, when teams face quality pitching every day. Long ball hitters usually take advantage of “mistakes”, which quality pitchers don’t offer up very often. Thus, the approach of swinging for the fences generally leads to a lot of strikeouts and runners stranded on base.

    It’s time for the Braves to get someone in that role who knows how to teach plate discipline and situational hitting, and not just someone who emphasizes the home run!

  13. jkpantheryou - May 6, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Has there ever been a sharper decline? If not for the money this guy would be out of baseball. Braves got unlucky as all get out with this A-hole.

  14. jlee999 - May 6, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    I am disheartened with Dan’s performance. When I learned he was coming to the Braves from the Marlins, I said to myself, “Wow, how did the Braves manage to pull that off?” This guy was a terror against the Braves back then and now he has proven to be a different kind of terror FOR the Braves.

    I have pulled for Dan all along his trail of demise, always thinking that he will get it straightened out soon. But alas, aside from the 30+ game hitting streak, he has struggled mightily and can’t seem to get untracked.

    Whatever happens, I wish him the best.

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