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Why is Dan Uggla still an Atlanta Brave?

There is really no logical reason for Dan Uggla to still be on Atlanta's roster.

Dan Uggla has stuck out in Atlanta.
Dan Uggla has stuck out in Atlanta.
Kevin C. Cox

After much consternation from virtually every fan in Braves nation, Dan Uggla was finally pulled from the starting lineup for good when Tommy La Stella was called up at the end of May. Since that time, Uggla has only appeared in 7 games, 6 of which came as a pinch hitter. In those 7 games, he has gone 0-9 with 0 walks and 2 strikeouts. In each game, he posted a non-positive WPA, which means he didn't help the team's chance of winning in any game he played in.

The Braves finally realized they were only hurting the team by letting Dan Uggla start. So when will they realize that they are only hurting the team by letting him hang around? This isn't a criticism of his statistics alone since his benching. After all, we all know that 9 plate appearances is a very small sample size. But Uggla is hitting .164/.237/.238 on the year, so it's not like we'd expect him to show marked improvement on those 0-9 numbers in limited playing time off the bench.

This is all just a flowery and statistical way of pointing out what all of us already know: Dan Uggla sucks. He can't hit and he can't field. As long as the team continues to carry him on the roster, they will continue to field, in essence, 24 players. And the Braves have several ways they could better be using that roster spot.

First of all, should the Braves cut Uggla, they could opt to carry an additional reliever. This seems especially appealing right now, given how ridiculously taxed the Braves bullpen is. Our starters have been rough lately, and the pen has been worked hard as a result. Over the last 14 days, Atlanta's relievers have thrown the 5th-most innings in the NL. Narrow that further to the last 7 days, and it jumps to 3rd most. In fact, as I write this, Aaron Harang is basically being left out on the mound to die against the Phillies because the Braves' pen simply cannot throw 6-8 innings of relief today.

And there are options too! Atlanta could choose to recall fireballing righty Juan Jaime or fireballing lefty Ryan Buchter to help the back of the pen. Or, if they want another guy who could pitch multiple innings, they could always call up any of Gus Schlosser, Ian Thomas, Cody Martin, or Aaron Northcraft. None of these options sound very glamorous, I fully admit, but just having another arm would be better than further overworking the ones we currently have.

Alternatively, the Braves could choose to bolster their bench if they cut Uggla. Phil Gosselin is currently having the best season of his life with AAA Gwinnett, hitting .321/.356/.425. That's good for a 119 wRC+. Furthermore, Gosselin can play all over the diamond. He's started 20 games at third base, 20 games at shortstop, 16 at second base and 8 in the outfield. He would doubtfully ever do anything past hitting for an empty average in the bigs, but his positional versatility would be excellent. Todd Cunningham could also be an option as well, but that would leave only Ramiro Pena to back up the infield.

Basically, the gist of all this is this: Atlanta has numerous bench options that would very likely be more productive that Dan Uggla is. I hate it for Uggla, I really do; by all accounts he seems like a really nice guy and good teammate who has handled his benching in stride. But this is a business, and Atlanta needs to field the most competitive 25-man roster possible, not just a competitive starting 9. In order to do that, it is time to cut ties with Dan Uggla.

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