Our long Atlanta Braves nightmare is over, Dan Uggla has finally been released by the team.
The Braves acquired Uggla after a 4.3 rWAR season with the Marlins. He was one of the best power-hitting second baseman in the game, and the Braves were desperate for power, especially right-handed power. Uggla seemed like a good fit, even though it pushed the popular Martin Prado to left field, and likely eventually off the team.
In four seasons with Atlanta, Uggla posted a combined rWAR of 2.5. His highest season was 2012, when he posted 2.9 rWAR. Since then it’s been all negative, with -1.3 in 2013 and -1.0 this year, though this year he wasn’t given a chance to run up the bad.
Who could have seen this coming? Actually, I did. Here is what I wrote back in 2011 after Uggla was signed by the Braves to a five-year deal:
I keep going back and forth on the Atlanta Braves decision to extend Dan Uggla for five years, but the pervasive thought throughout has been that this is an overreaction on the part of the Braves. It’s an overreaction of the desire to have a right-handed power hitter — a quest that General Manager Frank Wren has been on for several years. It’s an overreaction in length of contract before a player has had a chance to put on the uniform of the team that he will likely spend the rest of his career with. It’s an overreaction to compete with what the rest of the division has been doing this off-season — signing big-name players to bigger and bigger deals. […]
Look, this might turn out to be a great deal for a few years, but when a hobbled error-prone diminutive second baseman is wearing out his presence in Atlanta at age 35, it will not be any comfort to the fans or the organization that he’s signed to a guaranteed contract for another year. That’s the rub, it’s the length of the contract. I’m already dreading the next two guaranteed years with Derek Lowe, not to mention another year of paying Kawakami and Nate McLouth (speaking of overreactions), and now we’re adding another long-term dread.
Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong, and too frightful. Hopefully. Odds are this we be a good deal for the Braves for a couple of years, then maybe a wash, then it will turn into an albatross of a deal. I would have preferred to have given Uggla more dollars per year for fewer years, but it seems the trend in Major League Baseball is for more dollars per year for more years. Maybe the Braves got a bargain. Hopefully they did, but I doubt it.
I hate it when I’m right. Not much more to say, other than the Braves should have cut ties with Uggla this past offseason.