“The Braves have released 2B Dan Uggla. A corresponding roster move will be made prior to tonight’s game.”
That tweet went live, and the instant that I – and likely every other Giants fan who happened to venture across it at the same time – saw it, I knew. I just knew what was coming next.
“Source: Uggla to #SFGiants.” – Ken Rosenthal
Could there have been a more predictable move by Brian Sabean? Aging Uggla, he of the .162 batting average and .944 fielding %. Veteran guy, great in the club house. Over, and over again we hear this story.
Naturally, the outcry was immediate (and I’m just as guilty as anyone else). But it’s been a week now and Uggla is about to make his first start as a Giant. Luckily, we (I) have all had time to collect our (my) head(s) and process some of our (my) Uggla-iest thoughts about Uggla.
Two years ago, the now 34-year-old second baseman slashed .220/.348/.732. The batting average aside, that’s pretty good for a second baseman. In 2014, that would be the 11th best OPS among second basemen.
But this isn’t 2012 and Uggla doesn’t have an OPS of .732. Sure, that’s true. Somewhere between 2012 and 2013, Uggla just stopped hitting. But who’s to say a change of scenery won’t help him un-stop hitting?
The Giants have signed him to a minor league contract. The Braves are still on the hook for the $19 million he is owed. There’s no risk and a decent reward. There wasn’t much time to find out of Uggla could hit in AAA, so the experiment is now moving to the bigs.
A change of scenery was all Pat Burrellneeded in 2010. He was hitting just over .200 when the Giants picked him up after the Tampa Bay Rays released him. Giants picked him up – no risk, just like Uggla – and he hit .260 with 18 home runs the rest of the way.
And if it doesn’t work? No harm, no foul. There’s no real alternative (unless you’re in the “Trade Pablo Sandoval Now!” or the “The Giants Need To Spend More Money!” camps, in which case those are two very different articles than this one) readily available to the team.
So get ready. Pull on your caps and hold on for the ride. Dan Uggla is here.
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~ Robert Barsanti, @rgbarsanti
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