Atlanta Braves 2014: Why Dan Uggla Should Go and B.J. Upton Should Not
Ever since the season tragically ended for the Atlanta Braves there has been speculation as to what changes there will be before the start of the 2014 regular season. Some of those will just be the standard offseason type moves but some are being called for by fans across the board, like the ousting of second baseman Dan Uggla and center fielder B.J. Upton. Upton isn’t going anywhere but Uggla might very well move elsewhere. If you are wondering why they would move one and not the other, I’ll tell you right now.
There are several reasons actually starting with the most important which is money. I don’t mean the fact that most believe the Braves overpaid for Uggla and Upton because that is a matter of opinion. I mean that Upton has several seasons left on his five year deal and Uggla only has two seasons left on his. That matters because neither one is going to be able to be traded outright. The Braves will have to pay a chunk of the salary if they are able to move them. Moving Uggla then makes the most sense monetarily because they would only be out cash for the next two seasons.
From there it gets more abstract and we talk about attitude and confrontations. Every single time a reporter stood in front of Uggla for the last few months of the season he was slamming manager Fredi Gonzalez for benching him so often. I had a huge problem with this because Fredi stuck with Uggla longer than anyone on Earth besides Uggla wanted him to. Upton was relegated to a bench role around the same time as Uggla though and you didn’t hear nearly as much from him.
Any grumbling from B.J. generally focused on the fact that he was working hard and trying to snap himself out of it. Rarely if ever did he act as if Fredi G. didn’t have a brain because he was riding the bench. A player performing to the low level that these two did last season should expect the bench to rest under their butt. Why blame the manager when they are the professional hitters failing to hit?
Uggla did more blaming than he did accepting of responsibility and that led to what I believe is resentment within the clubhouse. You would never hear it outwardly because the Braves are generally very tight-lipped about ‘family business’ but you know Uggla having that attitude towards reporters means he has an even worse one in the clubhouse.
Lastly we have the fact that Uggla has struggled for several seasons now. There is little reason to believe he will suddenly play a ton better next season. Upton meanwhile has never played anywhere nearly as bad as he did last season and it would be shocking if he did not turn it around and have a great comeback year. End results suggest just what the headline says. Uggla should go, even if the Braves have to pay ten million dollars each season for the next two years. Upton should be allowed time to prove he is better than that one bad year.