Sep 2, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) stands on first base against the New York Mets during the 6th inning at Turner Field. The Braves won 13-5. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Player Projection: Dan Uggla

$13.2 million for….?

Well, trying to trade him didn’t work. So it certainly looks like Dan Uggla will be in a Braves uniform again for 2014. We’ll have to close our eyes and hope for the best as Dan does the same at the plate.

After a solid start to his career with the Florida Marlins, Uggla’s arrival in Atlanta was celebrated prior to the 2011 season. In his first five seasons he had 154 HR and 465 RBI – no season with less than 27 HR and 88 RBI. He was a very consistent player. It’s been anything but as a Brave. Outside of getting red hot over a two-month stretch in 2011 he has basically been worthless. Towards the end of the 2013 season when he hit .179, he wasn’t even hitting the occasional HR anymore. He was like that kid on your Little League team who always struck out, and you just hoped he would walk – and that’s about all he was good for….walking. Elliot Johnson who was signed off waivers in August took his spot on the playoff roster starting all Division Series games at 2B.

So can Dan revive his fledgling career? After a really mediocre 2012 season (.220, .348 OB%) he actually found a way to be 40 points worse in batting average and OBP in 2013. Is there any hope?

I don’t know. It can’t really get any worse, right?

Dan Uggla is a good guy. He hustles, he tries. But, I mean, for $13.2 million that’s not even close to enough. That’s what you ask from 12 year-olds, not Major League Baseball players. Uggs has to step it up plain and simple.

He has to find a way to curb the ridiculous amounts of strikeouts. He’s never had less than 120 K’s in a season throughout his career, but it’s gotten to be really bad. From a strikeout every 3.8 ABs in 2011 to every 2.6 ABs in 2013. He has a good eye for the baseball, as evidence by his propensity to get bases on balls, but he swings and misses a ton. Part of it is trying to crush the baseball into oblivion. Hopefully he has worked on being more of a contact hitter and letting the home runs come to him.

Everyone hopes Dan can turn it around. At this point any positive contribution will be a bonus. His spring training will likely determine if he goes into the year as the starting 2nd baseman or if he’ll platoon/be a backup. Fredi Gonzalez may determine that a solid defender at second is better for the team and sacrifice that position offensively because Uggla’s D isn’t anything to write home about. The Braves are paying him to not only be a starter but be a major factor in the lineup, however, he sort of is what he is in 2014 and we just have to live with it.

Tags: Atlanta Braves

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