Atlanta Braves officially release Dan Uggla

The Atlanta Braves finally made a move on Friday that most baseball fans saw coming for months now, releasing struggling second baseman Dan Uggla. Uggla was in the midst of a season that saw the thirty-four-year-old hit just two home runs (both coming in the same game) and post a .162 batting average in 48 games this season.

Dan  Uggla

The decision seemed to be in the works in the Atlanta front office for quite some time, with the boiling point apparently coming last Saturday when the team suspended Uggla for one game reportedly due to tardiness.

One of the major issues that caused the move to take so long had to be Uggla’s contract, which called for the team to pay more than $19 million in his release. Such a move is historic for Atlanta, as it tops the $10 million that the team paid pitcher Derek Lowe once he was traded to the Cleveland Indians following the end of the 2011 campaign.

It looked like 2014 would be the season that Uggla returned to his pre-Atlanta days, and all seemed hopeful after the Louisville, Kentucky native hit .269 with 4 home runs in 52 at-bats during spring training. Uggla proceeded to hit in the mid-.200s for the better part of the first month of the season, which included a glorious 2-home run performance to help the Braves defeat the Philadelphia Phillies on Apr. 14.

Uggla was supposed to serve as Atlanta's most dangerous bat

Uggla was supposed to serve as Atlanta’s most dangerous bat when he was acquired in 2011

What looked to be the turning point for Uggla actually turned out to be nothing more than his last hoorah. From that point on his performance took a steady nosedive, leading manager Fredi Gonzalez to bench him at the start of May. In to replace Uggla was rookie Tommy La Stella, whose reliable glove and dangerous bat quickly helped the Braves forget about the struggling veteran and continue on in the race for the NL East division championship.

Uggla’s four-year run with the Braves culminated with 356 hits, 79 home runs, 225 RBIs, and 535 strikeouts, a far cry from his tenure with the Florida Marlins that led Braves general manager Frank Wren to give him a 5-year, $62 million contract in Jan. 2011. Uggla will probably be best remembered by Braves fans for his 33-game hitting streak back in 2011, an inconceivable stretch that gave Uggla the twenty-third longest hitting streak in baseball history.

Atlanta’s unconditional release probably will not mark the end of Dan Uggla’s baseball career, as it seems certain that a team will kick the tires on the former All-Star and see if they can mend the broken pieces that Gonzalez and hitting coach Greg Walker never could. Despite this fact, it seems certain that Uggla’s persistent push to make second base a position of power at the plate is a thing of the past, just as his tenure with the Atlanta Braves is as of today.

 

Comments

  1. katfan says

    I don’t have sympathy for Dan Uggla either, but I find it hard to believe he is done as a MLB player. Some team will take a chance with him and he has a chance to return as a productive player. Not sure what the problem was at Atlanta, but the last couple years it became apparent that he was never going to get back to the player he was at the Marlins while with the Braves. Atlanta did the right thing to cut their losses and move on. I too have really enjoyed watching LaStella both in the field and at the plate.

    • Joe Gallagher says

      Whatever problems there may have been for Dan at Atlanta its hard to see anything that would account for the difference between the first two years and the last two. He was never even an adequate defensive 2nd baseman and probably would never have been. What we do know is that he can hit, or could.

      I sure hope Dan gets an interview with another GM. But he will have some tough questions to answer and that insane price tag is not going away. I can see him going to instructional ball and getting his hitting back, and if he does, catching on as a DH somewhere.

      Remember that Dan was the guy who was 30 points below the Mendoza line and was upset about being taken out of the lineup. He was 40 below when he was released.

      • katfan says

        Joe,
        I agree, but he obviously had the talent in the past and can probably renew that with another team. I have no hard feeling about what the Braves did (in fact I was a big proponent of the Braves letting him go), but I do think he still has some talent and can continue his career with an new team. I don’t have any hard feeling against Uggla either. While he did not produce (especially at the plate), he did give it everything he had on every play. No one hustled more on a ground out. He will not be making 18-19 million a year, but he will not starve. In fact, with what the Braves are going to pay him, he will be very comfortable for the next few years. Personally, I hope he does well with whatever team he ends up with, I just hope that he does not use his potential talents to haunt the Braves organization. If I were a GM I would give him a chance, especially with Atlanta picking up the majority of his paycheck.

  2. Joe Gallagher says

    No sympathy for Dan here, none!

    There is no professional sport, or really any business, that takes the kind of care of its personnel/players’ professional performance issues or problems than MLB does.

    At any time 24/7/12 over the past couple of years all Dan had to do was ask for help for his defensive and/or offensive problems and he would have received it immediately, the best there is, as much as he wanted or felt he needed.

    Only his ego stopped him from asking for help.

    Less a waste of money, than a waste of potential. A few more things than just monster biceps is needed for this game. One would think that might have sunk in by now.

    The thing I will enjoy watching for the balance of this season is the development of the Simmons/La Stella combination. Love a work in progress.

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