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Braves considering alternatives to Dan Uggla at second base

May 8, 2014, 10:50 PM EDT

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The struggling Dan Uggla has started just five out of the last nine games at second base for the Braves and Mark Bowman of hears that the club will continue to look at alternatives at the position.

While the Braves “have moved away from the thought” of releasing Uggla, they are expected to give playing time to Ramiro Pena and Tyler Pastornicky in the next couple of weeks. From there, they could promote prospect infielder Tommy La Stella, who is hitting .306/.368/.333 with a 9/12 K/BB ratio over 30 games at Triple-A Gwinnett. Interestingly, Bowman writes that some of the team’s veteran players would rather see Pastornicky get a chance to run away with the job.

Uggla is batting just .180/.297/.345 over 164 games since the start of last season and is still owed $24 million through the end of 2015. The Braves apparently aren’t comfortable with eating his remaining salary in order to turn the page, but something might have to give soon.

  1. renaado - May 8, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    I’m goin with La Stella as a possible replacement for Uggla, really want to see this guy’s first debut in the show.

  2. jcmeyer10 - May 8, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    He got that big contract and never had to worry about Whey protein money again. Surprised it took this long to make a move.

  3. 1harrypairatesties - May 8, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Cubs Gold Glover Darwin Barney .

  4. hittfamily - May 8, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Sean Rodriguez should be an option for them. Logan Forsythe and SeanRod are basically the same player, so neither is getting many PA’s this year. He isn’t an all star, but he is a big upgrade over any of the names Craig mentioned. He is an above average hitter, above average runner, and above average fielder. He plays all IF positions well, and has shown to be good OF as well. His natural position is second though.

  5. bobulated - May 9, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    Uggla is a sunk cost, cut him and stop the out parade. Pastornicky only possesses defensive versatility in that he can indeed play multiple positions but whether he actually adds any defensive value is highly debatable; he was a dumpster fire defensively when he was handed the starting SS job two years ago. IMHO, give Pena a shot and see if he turns into Martin Prado or just bring La Stella up.

  6. sportsdad61 - May 9, 2014 at 1:55 AM

    First let me say I love Dan Uggla. I was so excited when we got him away from Miami. Now I think its time we look at La Stella.With what he is doing in the minors he deserves a look at 2nd base. The Braves have gone all out to field a winner and should be commended from the front office to the coaching staff. I think they feel the same way I do and it’s hard to give up on someone that is such a great guy. But the bottom line is we have a World Series caliber team if our offence starts producing. To do that a couple of the pieces need to be replaced and big bats put in their place.

    • baberuthslegs - May 9, 2014 at 4:36 AM

      Met Dan Uggla when he was in the minors. Nicest guy in the world. This is painful to watch.

      Braves have a “playoff” caliber team even if they start hitting. We have seen that so often in the past. There’s no fire in those guys after the regular season… ever.

    • wpjohnson - May 9, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      I don’t know for sure if sportsdad61 is Uggla’s wife or Wren’s wife. In either case, love is truly blind.

  7. campcouch - May 9, 2014 at 3:04 AM

    Uggla has managed to make himself quite a living. Curse my parents for not supporting me in little league!

  8. maddog11896 - May 9, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Dear Braves, please take Rickie Weeks!

    Sincerely, Brewers fans

  9. djandujar - May 9, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    Ever since his marriage fell apart his career has declined.

  10. someguyinva - May 9, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    If they bench Uggla, who’s going to wander aimlessly into the basepaths and accidentally give Denard Span another forearm shiver to the head?

    • rpearlston - May 9, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Offer to bring David Eckstein out of retirement. He can handle the job you outlined, but the rest of infielders will need to wear helmets at all times, because he could clock any of them by accident. (Ask Aaron Hill.)

  11. onbucky96 - May 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Ha ha! And I thought we had it bad in Milwaukee with Ricky Weeks!

  12. riverace19 - May 9, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    1harry: playing Barney at 2B is having another pitcher in the lineup which means 22% of your lineup can’t hit.

  13. tbird05 - May 9, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Braves should also start considering alternatives to Jason Heyward. I understand the “5 tool” ability and streaks of brilliance, but he is more likely to go the way of Frenchy. Big hole in his swing, and pitchers have figured it out.

    Also, if nothing changes in the next month or so, they may be seeking alternatives to Frank Wren.

    • bolweevils2 - May 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      Granted, the batting average looks ugly. But Heyward, through 33 games, has a 1.4 WAR. Extrapolate that for, say, 155 games played and you come up with a full season WAR of 6.6. A WAR of 6.6 would have ranked 8th in the NL last year, between Jose Fernandez and Adam Wainwright.

      Are you sure you want to look for alternatives to Heyward?

      • bolweevils2 - May 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        I’ll concede that Heyward’s WAR value is entirely defense though, and thus subject to skepticism. His oWar thus far is -0.2.

    • tbird05 - May 9, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      Yes, I would still consider trading Heyward. If anything, those stats give them a reason to demand a reasonable return. I would rather see a consistent batting average guy with an average glove and high OBP in left field batting lead off. Get a high return for heyward, and slide justin back to right field. There is a reason they didn’t want to give him an 8 year extension.

  14. ud1951 - May 9, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    This would be a much bigger story if the Braves were not considering alternatives to Dan Uggla at second base.

  15. 1harrypairatesties - May 9, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    riverace 19
    You’re correct. Barney is strictly a glove man with no stick. Plus believe it or not, we like him here in Chicago & have come to the realization that he can’t hit. He does make some great plays in the field though. Maybe the Braves should just bring up the kid they have in the minors.

  16. madtownthrowdown - May 9, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    We’ll take Uggla on the cheap down here in Tampa. He’s fit right in. No one one the Rays roster can hit consistently. I’ll ask the other 5 fans what they think quick…… Ok we’re in! Uggla to a second. Zobrist to to left. Joyce to DH, and Logan Forsyth to Atlanta!

  17. swimmer2010 - May 9, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    How much would it cost to make a life size cardboard replica of Ugly Dan and have the ballboy trot it out to the plate when it is time for Dan to strike out…AGAIN! A cardboard Ugly Dan at the plate would be an IMPROVEMENT…Ugly Dan would hit into fewer double plays…

  18. wpjohnson - May 9, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    The logical move would be to release Uggla and take his remaining pay out of Wren’s paycheck.

  19. jkpantheryou - May 9, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    biggest waste of money in braves history with the possible exception of mike hampton. at least hampton had injuries to blame for his lack of production though. the doofus, uggla, just flat out fell off the face of the earth.

  20. donw1960 - May 14, 2014 at 4:40 AM

    I’ll take 5 like dan. Over one Bj that is a 75 million bust. Jordan Shaffer should be in the outfield pena on second

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