I have defended Dan Uggla probably more than anyone over the last few years during his time with the Atlanta Braves, but after tonight even I might be done with his antics. It’s time for him to either step up and produce for this team or take a seat on the bench. Right now, Uggla is doing the opposing teams more favors than his own, and quite frankly I’m getting tired of it. For a player who is paid around $12 million dollars a year, he’s not nearly producing at the level Atlanta is paying him.
It’s not just his offense that has been abysmal for the last few seasons either, whenever he’s out there playing at second base he’s a defensive liability, too. Tonight’s game against the Washington Nationals provided the perfect example of both his struggles as well. In the bottom of the third inning, Uggla had the perfect chance to deliver for the Braves in order to open the game wide open and he completely failed.
With runners on first and second with only one out, he worked the count to an impressive three balls and no strikes before collapsing. Usually, a manager such as Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t give the green light in that situation, but given the circumstances this was the perfect time for Uggla to show his manager that he’s not the same old hitter the Braves have witnessed for the past couple of seasons. However, the 34-year-old failed to produce anything at all.
Uggla did the worst thing possible in that situation, and grounded into a double play to end the third inning. Any time you get the green light on a hitter’s count, there’s no excuse not to produce. This is especially true for Uggla who is out to prove all the naysayers wrong this season. If he really wants people to stop dogging him, maybe he should step up because fans like myself are getting sick and tired of his antics.
To add more fire to flame, he did himself no favors when he recorded an awful error to hurt his team. On a routine ground ball, Uggla couldn’t even make the throw to first base without messing up, and it cost the Braves dearly. Had he made that throw to first the inning would have ended, and the Nationals wouldn’t have done any damage. Instead, by allowing one more unnecessary hitter to get an at-bat, Washington took full advantage and Ryan Zimmerman launched a three-run homer to tie the game at 4-4.
Luckily, he didn’t cost Atlanta the game, but still it’s time to step up. I understand that it’s early in the year, which means Uggla deserves a little more time to turn things around. However, the Braves are not going to wait much longer when there are other options on the current roster. Ramiro Pena showed that he’s more than capable to step in right away after his performance tonight.