Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What Happened to Dan Uggla

It hindsight seems that the Miami Marlins who take a lot of heat (and deservedly so) for their salary dumps is definitely the winner of the Dan Uggla trade that they made with the Atlanta Braves in 2010. Granted Omar Infante was traded to Detroit last season with Anibal Sanchez and 2013 compensation draft pick round A to the Detroit Tigers for minor leaguer Brian Flynn, Rob Brantly, Jacob Turner and 2013 compensation draft pick round B and Mike Dunn is a fixture in their bullpen, if they had chosen to resign Uggla, they might be stuck with a player who is playing way below expectations. Here is what I said about the trade in my blogpost The Florida Marlins Play the Trade Game from November 16, 2010:
It was reported that the Marlins were trying to sign Uggla to a 4-year 48-million dollar extension which Uggla rejected. It is believed that Uggla was looking for a deal in the 5-year 71-million dollar range...From what I've read, the general consensus believes that the Marlins basically gave away Uggla and to a division rival no less. Uggla has been an offensive force for the Marlins from the second base position who in 5 major league season is hitting an average of .263 with 32 Homeruns and 97 RBI. Uggla is good for about 161 hits a season (35 2B/3 3B/32 HRs) and an OPS of .837 (.347 OBP/.488 SLG). Uggla is also a consistent player having played an average of 155 games per season. Economically, the deal might benefit the Marlins more...Had they not traded Uggla now, they might have ended up trading him during the season with risking losing him after next season.
Look at his numbers while with the Marlins: .263 with 32 Homeruns and 97 RBI. Uggla is good for about 161 hits a season (35 2B/3 3B/32 HRs) and an OPS of .837 (.347 OBP/.488 SLG). I don't know if it was the tropical sunshine in Miami that had Uggla hitting like that but he sure isn't hitting that way in Atlanta.

In his two seasons with the Braves, Uggla is averaging a .227 batting average with 28 homeruns and 80 RBI. He's been good for 132 hits (26 2B/0 3B/28 HRs) and an OPS of .750 (.329 OBP/.421 SLG). He's below his career average in all catergories. I can't even blame it on him striking out more in Atlanta than when he was in Florida. He averaged 158 K's with 76 walks with the Marlins and in Atlanta he's averaged 162 K's and 78 walks.

Perhaps he has regressed in terms of plate discipline. And looking at his spring training performance this season, the regression seems to have continued. In 55 at-bats Uggla is hitting .182 with only 10 hits with 1 HR, no other extra base hits, 3 walks and 19 strikeouts.

Defensively he's no worse than he was in Florida. He's a decent fielder who you can count on playing 154 or more games a season (his lowest was 146 in 2008). I would say that perhaps a change of scenery would benefit Uggla but with the Atlanta Braves on the hook for $39 million dollars over the next three season, it would seem that they are both stuck with each other.

Can Uggla snap out of his apparent hitting funk? Can hitting coach Greg Walker help Uggla find his stroke or will this go down as one of the worst trades ever made by the usually reliable Atlanta Braves.

What do you think. Let me know.

Sisco Kid

For Further Reading
- Click Here to Access Dan Uggla's career statistics from Baseball Reference.com