Jul 3, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) makes a diving stop in the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Uggla Quotes Speak Volumes


Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton have both been benched in recent games by manager Fredi Gonzalez.  In my opinion, rightfully so.  I’ve expressed my hope that the Braves will not do a U-Turn on that decision, but will stick to their guns throughout the playoffs – especially if replacements Evan Gattis, Jordan Schafer and Elliot Johnson continue to perform they way they have been.  I won’t bore you further with numbers.  I know you’ve seen them all.  Suffice it to say that both Uggla and B.J. have provided little the entire season to the Atlanta Braves in the way of production.

Dan Uggla has been benched for short stretches before, and has been vocal in the past on how he thought it was mistake.  Dan is voicing his displeasure again.

Carrol Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported yesterday on Dan Uggla’s response to having to sit.  He reportedly met with manager Fredi Gonzalez last Monday, and got little in the way of any specific plans from Fredi about when he’ll will be back in the lineup, if at all.  According to Carrol Rogers, Dan Uggla had the following to say when asked about being benched:

It’s his ball club. I’ve got to respect the decision that he made. Do I agree with it? Once again and I’ve reiterated this a lot of times – no absolutely not. I don’t think we’re a better ball club with me on the bench. But he’s the manager. I’ve got to respect his decision.

Dan, the last I checked, it’s your ball club as well!  I suppose you can be given a pass on that statement because it was likely made out of anger and frustration, but I think that saying, “It’s his ball club” speaks volumes about Dan Uggla, and further strengthens the decision not to have Uggla in the lineup.  I get that Uggla is frustrated, and I don’t blame him for that, but he should realize his lack of performance all year is the ONLY reason he is on the bench.  I think even the casual fan can see that the Atlanta Braves are in fact a better ball club without Uggla in the lineup, whether he agrees with the decision or not.  B.J. Upton hasn’t, to my knowledge, voiced a similar complaint, but the decision to bench him seems a sound one as well.

Fredi Gonzalez was also asked about the decision to bench Uggla, and Carrol Rogers reported Fredi’s response…

We have 20 games left and counting, and we’re trying to put the best team on the field that we think is going to win that particular game.

I like that answer.  It’s short, to the point, and seems to indicate at least the strong possibility that the Braves will stick to their guns and keep Uggla on the bench.  I continue to push the logic that if you have players coming off the bench that are producing, there is no rational reason at all for benching those players again in lieu of having normal starters in the lineup who have shown ZERO proof they have anything to offer.  Fans want the best team on the field as well with the Braves having a legitimate shot at a championship this year.

Dan went on to have a somewhat softer response to his benching.  Further commenting on Fredi’s decision, he said…

I’m still just as (mad) this year as I was last year but I’ve also grown up a little bit from the experience last year and held my emotions probably a little better this year.  I can put my emotions aside to win for this team.  Is it embarrassing? Yeah it sucks. I’m not used to being this dude. But at the same time I’ve got to make an adjustment and produce.  Besides the one-game playoff (in 2012), that’s the only experience I’ve gotten in the playoffs, so this is a huge deal for me.  I’ve always dreamt about playing in the playoffs. I’ve never dreamed about sitting on the bench in the playoffs. But we’ll have to see how it plays out.

I won’t be surprised, for a couple of reasons, if we see either Dan Uggla or B.J. Upton back in the lineup, either during September or even during the playoffs.  The first reason for that is because we’ve seen it before this year.  When Elliot Johnson first got in the lineup this year after being claimed by the Braves, he came in for Uggla, performed very well, and then Fredi had Uggla back in the lineup the very next game.  The second reason we could see Uggla again is based on the 2012 season.  Uggla was benched last year three games during the first of September, but was put back in the lineup.  Uggla produced with a .288 BA, 2 home runs, and 14 RBIs over the Braves final games of the season.

I’d like to think that if Uggla does return to the lineup, he’ll be able to produce that same way.  My skepticism about that is based on the fact that while Dan has struggled some every year he’s been a Brave, this is the first year that he has been mired in a below-Mendoza-line slump from start to finish.  Dan said, “I’ve got to make an adjustment and produce,” but I don’t see it Dan.  I don’t see how you’ll make an adjustment when no other adjustment this year, including Lasik surgery, has worked.  As you sort of said though, It’s Fredi’s ball club.  As a die-hard fan, I always feel like the Braves are kind of my ball club too, but since I cannot fuss at Fredi first hand, I’ll settle for my Tomahawk Take soap box.  Perhaps my thoughts will somehow filter down to Fredi by baseball osmosis.

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

  • cheadrick

    Well not long at all after writing this, confirmed that both B.J. and Dan Uggla are back in the lineup. I think today should be their last chance if they don’t put forth some kind of substantial production. Jordan Schafer had a great game last night, and every time you take him out, you risk a lack of production.

    I suppose with Garcia on the mound, it could be a throw-away game anyway, but Dan will need to pull the same trick out of the hat he did last September after being benched. I have reservations, and am decidedly skeptical.

    I guess we’re also going to see Gattis catch, which may be another way of getting a feel for whether he can catch a veteran with any degree of management. Just looks more and more like a throwaway game.

    • cheadrick

      Well I guess Garcia didn’t see it as a throwaway! My bad! He had a great outing, looking like the veteran he is. Unfortunately, neither B.J. or Dan surprised me at all, although B.J. did get one hit. I think now they should be benched for the remaining 16 games, and then in the playoffs too. I won’t be surprised if they’re given more chances, but I think it a mistake.

      • fireboss

        BJ’s hit was a dribbler past the pitcher that he beat out, ball traveled about 80 feet. Dan was his usual automatic out. Freddie killed the fish and EJ played well

  • fireboss

    Arrived late at the game on TV but caught up with gameday. looks like status quo to me; Freeman is still killing the Fish, Johnson continues to play well wherever they put him and hit/get on base. I can forgive the caught stealing because it makes him 18-1 on the year. Dan has now struck out twice and according to gameday, grounded out “softly” once. Nothing new there. Sorry Dan, grab some pine

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  • Joseph Fain

    You know what these quotes speak to IMHO? How freaking arrogant Uggla is. He still thinks he is some kind of stud player when he is a a terrible defensive player and batting well below .200. It really explains why he fails to a) use a lighter bat, b) make any adjustments in his approach, and c) won’t listen to anything the hitting coaches tell him.

    I’d also like to comment on the “Uggla walks a lot” meme. I personally think it has been detrimental to his overall approach at the plate as he now goes up looking to walk. I have seen him take fastballs right down the middle when he is ahead in the account because, IMO, he is looking to walk. It has really hurt his aggressiveness when he is ahead in the count.

    On the Utley comparison, what doesn’t come out in those numbers is how Dan’s inability make consistent contact has lead to him missing innumerable chances to make constructive outs (e.g., move a runner from second to third when there is no outs).

    At least BJ is man enough to say that it is his fault for sucking and therefore being on the bench. Dan is making it very hard to like him.

    • fireboss

      You nailed my feelings on his comments. I was just listening to Kevin Kennedy talk about the Rays and Joe Maddon. He was asked how Maddon handles moving people around in the lineup without complaint. He said – paraphrasing some here – Joe tells everyone when they arrive to check their egos at the door. This is a group effort won or lost by a team. No individuals numbers or goals come ahead of that. They hit were he says, and do what he says because they understand it’s about the team and no them. Uggla’s comments clearly show he doesn’t believe that.

      Following on the walks issue it seems to me that Dan is using it to bolster OBP so he can argue that sabermetricly he’s producing. It’s the Joey Votto argument. Votto says I hit the way I always hit regardless of the situation – again paraphrasing. Clearly he leaves runs on the bases when he does that and he could hit 30 homers and drive in 100 if he wanted to simply by being more aggressive. he did it in 2010 (36 homers 110 RBI) and still walked 91 times. In 2011 it was 29 and 103 with 110 walks. This year he’s walking more by not being that aggressive and has sacrificed homers and RBI because of that. Votto gets away with that because he’s hitting 306 with a 972 OPS and .295/.474/.475 with RISP. I bet if you ask Dusty he’d like the 2010 version better but back to my point. Uggla doesn’t get a pass when he takes a pass so often because he is not producing when it counts and he hasn’t been since he became a Brave. His intransigence is going to cause his departure just as it did Jeff Francoeur, Yunel Escobar and others who don’t remember the name on the front is more important than the name on the back.

    • cheadrick

      Completely agree Joseph. Dan has always had a touch of arrogance in the way he carries himself, and he’s always had to have it to compensate for the slumps he has every year. This year though, the slump has been pillar to post, and he’s getting argumentative and defensive because he has nothing this year to recommend him for being in the lineup.

      I’ve said on his walks before, he is looking to walk, and also because of his potential power, many pitchers will simply pitch around him if there’s not real threat behind him. I support all Braves players, but I support the team first, and Dan has got to go for the good of the team I love.