The Atlanta Braves will come to a crossroads this offseason when the front office has time to sit down and assess their situation. There will be many questions: how to get B.J. Upton out of his funk, deciding what to do with their catchers and overseeing the rehabilitation of Tim Hudson. All of those questions are important, but none are as critical as what to do with Dan Uggla, the undisputed disappointment of the new decade in Atlanta.
At $13 million a year, his overwhelming underachievement comes at a premium for the Braves organization. His RAR (runs over replacement) is at -6. That means he’s provided less runs to the Braves than a replacement level player, a player which can cost the league minimum of around $500,000 a year.
Yea, that’s right. He is less productive than any number of no-name players who currently find themselves on minor league rosters, just waiting for their chance to play in the show; players who would cost the Braves 1/26 of Uggla’s salary.
I’m not just talking smack though, I offer a solution: Ramiro Pena.
His performance in the relatively small amount of time he played this season was far above what the Braves could have asked for. Just how productive was he? Well, in only 107 plate appearances, he provided 10 RAR. Pena is a replacement player, and he is the eighth most productive player that the Braves have fielded this season offensively.
Not only is Pena better offensively than Uggla, his defense is far superior. While Uggla has provided a disturbing -1.8 dWAR, Pena actually provided .3 dWAR in about 1/5 of the playing time.
How much did Pena get paid to play in 2013? $550,000.
If Frank Wren has any sense about him, he’ll gladly eat Uggla’s $13 million salary and give Braves fans a second basemen they deserve, for a fraction of the cost.