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Friday, July 18, 2014

Braves release Dan Uggla

That is one Uggla contract.

The Braves on Friday released second baseman Dan Uggla, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman has learned.

The move is notable because Uggla, whom the Braves signed to a five-year, $62-million deal just prior to the 2011 season, is still owed the remainder of his $13-million salary for this season and another $13 million for the 2015 season. In other words, making Uggla go away is worth, oh, almost $20 million to the Braves.

Even with the money involved, the decision is easy to understand. Uggla in 2011, his first season after being acquired from the Marlins in exchange for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn, tallied 36 homers. Since then, however, he’s batted .196/.320/.357, and this year he cratered to an OPS+ of 33 (!).

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 18, 2014 at 04:02 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bad contracts, braves, dan uggla, released players

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   1. Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4753891)
Who gets picked up first: Uggla, Soriano, Pena?
   2. spike Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4753892)
The trade was great, the extension a bad idea at the time and many said as much, although no one could imagine it would be this bad - sorry it didn't work out Dan.
   3. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4753893)
Is his suspension over with?
   4. Batman Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4753898)
Who gets picked up first: Uggla, Soriano, Pena?
Julio Franco.
   5. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4753917)
Yeah. This became inevitable when Tommy LaStella didn't abjectly suck at the MLB level. I was a big fan of the trade and thought he'd be good for at least three of the five years. Certainly worth a journeyman like Omar Infante. I guess I might reconsider that with hindsight.
   6. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4753919)
Who gets picked up first: Uggla, Soriano, Pena?


Maybe nobody but Pena last.

Hard to see Uggla having much left. His last 700 PA have been a mess.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4753924)
I almost hope Uggla would listen if Jon Daniels called.
   8. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4753934)
2013-2014
682 PAs
24 HR
87 BB

Secondary Average of .311

and an OPS+ of 73...
Yowza, how is that possible? .175/.295/.332

and BJ Upton, just what is going on down there in Atlanta ?
   9. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4753937)
Uggla has that one second half hitting streak where he just tore the #### out of the ball in Atlanta. Outside of those two months, he's just walking meat with rot set in. He and BJ Upton's career paths do not bode well for Greg Walker's continued employment as a Major League hitting instructor.
   10. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:24 PM (#4753944)
Who gets picked up first: Uggla, Soriano, Pena?

I bet any amount of money Dan Uggla is a Royal by the end of the month. Dayton Moore loves his former Braves.
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4753954)
Secondary Average of .311

and an OPS+ of 73...
Yowza, how is that possible? .175/.295/.332


Yeah, the batting average is a real issue. It's just tough to contribute offensively with a sub-.200 BA. Even Rob Deer couldn't manage a league average OPS+ when he hit under .200, save for his one fun cup of coffee in his 1984 call-up when he went 4-24 with 3 HR and 7 BB for a line of 167/375/542 for a 159 OPS+.

I had sort of recalled that his .179 year with 25 HR a slew of walks (I see 89 BB) netted him a 100 OPS+ but nope - 92.

McGwire would be the next one to check. I'm pretty sure he managed a better than league average OPS+ during his final half-season.... checking... yep, 187/316/492 (29 HR, 56 BB in 364 PA) good for a 105 OPS+. But he was a guy with secondary skills (power and walks) among the very best of all-time.

His .201 BA year in 1991 before offense exploded (201/330/383, 22 HR, 93 BB) was good for a 103 OPS+, just over the line. Hell of an age-27 year...

   12. mathesond Posted: July 18, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4753955)
The Jays could use a 2B, and the Dome is kind to power hitters...
   13. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4753960)
8 players in history have had a sub .200 BA and 100 or better OPS+ in 100 or more PA. Carlos Pena is the only one to qualify for a batting title. Interestingly, the same year Pena did it, his teammate Dan Johnson also did it. Others include Frank Rodriguez (.171 BA, 125 OPS+!), Oscar Gamble, McGwire, Charlie Sands, Jack Harshman, and our very own Roger Repoz.

edit: That should read Frank Fernandez. And he was a real TTO God. Career 903 PA with 39 HR, 164 BB, and 231 K. In 1971 with the Cubs he had 58 PA, 4 HR, 17 BB, and 15 K. His .171/.414/.488 line was good for a 142 OPS+.
   14. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 18, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4753962)
Kingman managed an OPS+ of 99 one year when he hit .204, and he didn't walk all that much
of course he did that by leading the league in HRs

But thsi is what play index is for
300+ PAs
Batting average under .200

Roger Repoz, 1971, OPS+ 108 (.199/.333/.374)
McGwire, 2001, 105
Carlos Pena, 2010, 103

The top OPS+ for a sub .200 batter prior to 1970 was Tom Tresh, 90 in 1968
Before him, 88 by Lou Criger in 1905

raise the battng average to .210 and Killebrew once had a 131 OPS+ when batting .210
   15. zachtoma Posted: July 18, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4754052)
Uggla has that one second half hitting streak where he just tore the #### out of the ball in Atlanta. Outside of those two months, he's just walking meat with rot set in. He and BJ Upton's career paths do not bode well for Greg Walker's continued employment as a Major League hitting instructor.


I'm surprised he still has a job. There's a lot of offensive talent on that roster and almost to a man they've underachieved, in some cases disastrously. He doesn't seem to have noticed how dramatically the game has changed in the last 4-5 years, especially in the NL, he has these guys still going up to the plate like it's 2000 and they're playing in Coors Field and they are just getting eaten up. It's a bloodbath right now. Hey Chipper, it's been two years... you getting bored of hunting that big ranch of yours yet?
   16. boteman Posted: July 18, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4754053)
I wonder how much impact a hitting coach actually has?

Rick Eckstein was taking massive amounts of crap from fans when it seemed the Nats couldn't hit their way out of a paper bag. So they finally parted ways and hired Rick Schu. I didn't see a dramatic shift in hitting output. Maybe one or two guys changed their approach, but I have no way to attribute that to any one factor.

I think Uggla just hit his wall early-ish. Meanwhile, some other guys are 40 years old and still going apace.
   17. Baldrick Posted: July 18, 2014 at 09:23 PM (#4754055)
I released an Uggla into the toilet just a little while ago.
   18. zachtoma Posted: July 18, 2014 at 09:47 PM (#4754065)
I wonder how much impact a hitting coach actually has?


I don't know, but I do see a lot of the Braves players have a similar approach. Wait for your pitch, then drive it or whiff trying... you can't play that way anymore, not in the National League. You're gonna hit in the low .200's with 25 homers at best... lo and behold, those are exactly the results the Braves are getting. Jason Heyward is too talented to be getting such mediocre results, so is Justin Upton, even BJ Upton is; Freeman is the only guy who's thriving in that lineup and I suspect he gets his coaching elsewhere. Fire Walker, what can it really hurt?
   19. zachtoma Posted: July 18, 2014 at 10:14 PM (#4754084)

I think Uggla just hit his wall early-ish. Meanwhile, some other guys are 40 years old and still going apace.


I don't think so, I think the game changed around Uggla. In 2009, you could be a bad defensive second basemen who K's a ton and has plus power, but the shifts in the game since then - especially in the NL, where no non-Braun player has hit 40 HR in 4 years (and he tested positive) - have magnified all his weaknesses and diminished his strengths. What was a useful player in 2009 in unplayable in 2014.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: July 18, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4754108)
I'm not really buying it. The Braves are hitting 247/309/376 vs. league average of 249/312/385. Nothing major there. They have 54 more Ks than an average NL team in 95 games, hardly whiff-a-rama. They have a league average of 81 HRs. They are 18 runs below an average team and you can probably blame half of that on Uggla alone.

I'm not sure what offensive talent you think you see on this team. Gattis has surprised everybody I think by how well he's hit. Freeman is doing really well. Nobody ever expected Simmons to hit, Johnson had never hit before last year. J Upton is posting the second-best OPS+ of his career and has been above his career average both seasons in Atl.

So that leaves BJ Upton -- who did mysteriously cliff dive although if he was putting up a 180-200 ISO like he used to, he'd be doing OK this year. But it's not like you can just turn him into a contact hitter.

And it leaves Jason Heyward. His lack of hitting has been a mystery for years now but still we're talking about a guy with a 113 career OPS+ who has slumped to 100 in 2/3 of a season ... not exactly a rare occurrence. And, like BJU, the main issue is the lack of power. Give him last year's ISO and he'd be putting up the same numbers as last year. If anything, those two look like guys who've been told they need to stop swinging for the fences all the time.

I'm not sure what different type of hitter you are looking for or that you think the NL needs. But looking at qualified guys with a K-rate below 20% and an ISO below 150, you only have 25. The best OPS+ is Wright at 118. Heyward qualifies for this list and his 100 OPS+ ranks 11 out of 25. That possibly under-rates him a bit as he is 7th in OBP; by Rbat he is 9th.

If you drop it to a 15% K-rate, you get only 11 qualifying batters, 4 who have put up more Rbat than Heyward, 1 essentially tied and 6 guys who have put up negative Rbat -- one of them is Simmons.

Across both leagues there are only 9 qualified batters with a K-rate under 10%. 3 are also hitting for power -- Brantley, VMart, Pujols. It's not clear it's even possible to have a genuine slap hitter anymore -- Altuve, Aybar and Suzuki are the only three pulling it off this year.

Anyway, I'm reasonably certain that the solution to the problem of too many hitters like 2014 Jason Heyward is more hitters like 2014 Jason Heyward.
   21. boteman Posted: July 18, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4754137)
@Ken_Rosenthal: One more note on Uggla: Braves owe him $250K per year for four years after next season. Deferred signing bonus. Will pay him through 2019.

I didn't know Frank Wren was ever with the Mets? Huh.
   22. JoeHova Posted: July 19, 2014 at 03:03 AM (#4754192)
Even Rob Deer couldn't manage a league average OPS+ when he hit under .200, save for his one fun cup of coffee in his 1984 call-up


Don't forget his 1996 swan song with San Diego. Deer hit .180 and had an OPS+ of 125. He went 9 for 50 with 4 home runs, 3 doubles, and 14 walks.
   23. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: July 19, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4754253)
Uggla, whom the Braves signed to a five-year, $62-million deal just prior to the 2011 season, is still owed the remainder of his $13-million salary for this season and another $13 million for the 2015 season.


Somewhere, Bobby Bonilla is smiling.
   24. Colin Posted: July 19, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4754263)
Dan Uggla looks like a guy who peaked at age 28, then went into pretty steady decline, masked by a fluky, hit-lucky season at age 30 - Crash Davis's legendary one-extra-hit-a-week. Subtract that lucky blip in BA and you've got a fairly steady decline.

I have no idea what the hell happened with BJ Upton. Armchair psychology makes it tempting to think he pressed too hard trying to live up to expectations of a big contract and having his star brother upstage him on the team. But, more likely he was just a guy walking an offensive tightrope to begin with, with a high strikeout rate, for whom any further small dropoff could have major consequences.

As for Jason Heyward, he's had a baffling career. No two years seem similar - his peripheral strengths and weaknesses seem to change from year to year. He may be an example of a guy who's adjusted and readjusted to the league's approach, plus he's had injuries that messed things up for him. Still, he's just been all over the place - consistently good for a few years, but really streaky within years.
   25. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 19, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4754305)
Jason Heyward is today as old as David Justice was when he won Rookie of the Year. I'm not quite ready to give up on him yet.
   26. Born1951 Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4754326)
[13] Frank Fernandez 1968 Strat-O-Matic card.
   27. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 19, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4754385)
This vindicates the Diamondbacks leaving Uggla exposed.
   28. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 19, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4754480)
Uggla has that one second half hitting streak where he just tore the #### out of the ball in Atlanta.

My favorite part of that 33-game hitting streak is that Uggla's batting average improved in each of the first 27 games of it; I have to think that's the longest streak of its kind in baseball history, because not many 30-plus-game hitting streaks begin when the player's average is low enough to be helped by a 1-for-5.
   29. BDC Posted: July 19, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4754515)
I wonder if Heyward has been injured and/or ill more than one would gather from a distance.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: July 19, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4754542)
Not only is it too early to give up on Heyward, there's nothing to give up on. His outstanding defense combined with his position-average offense is a 4-5 WAR player. Fine, he'll probably never hit like Stanton -- he'll just be the Andruw Jones of RF. They're both in their age 24 season with about the same number of PA and Heyward has 3 more career WAR. I'm not sure I quite believe that (since Stanton is also good defensively) but I'm not so doubtful as to think Stanton is substantially more valuable.

Enjoy the 25-30 WAR he'll give you over the next 6 years, trade/let him walk at 30 if he's not a better hitter by then -- a bit of offensive and defensive decline at the same time and he'll become pretty ordinary pretty quick.
   31. bigglou115 Posted: July 20, 2014 at 03:49 AM (#4754616)
I'm starting to think Heyward won't ever let himself be a great hitter. You can kinda tell from both his quotes and his performance what may be going on. He'll walk a ton, but because he's taking pitches he Ks a lot and doesn't put many balls in play. So he gets more aggressive, Ks and BBs go down. But now the power numbers drop because he's hitting less favorable pitches, so he tries to turn on everything. Now the power goes up, but his average tanks because he's rolling over a lot of pitches. So he starts getting patient again to walk to off-set the lower average and the whole thing starts over.

The result is you have base Heyward. Probably a 20 HR, .270/.350/.450 hitter. But them you'll see a month were one number rises and the others dip, then they'll switch around, then he'll slump for a month, and then be base Heyward again.

My hope is watching the implosion of constant tinkerer BJ Upton will sort him out. Chipper used to say Jason's problem was that he only had one swing. For Chipper there's 5 or 6 different swings depending on what's happening. But that's not the right approach for Jason. Jason's more athletic than Chipper, and may have a better sense of the zone. Chipper may have been the smartest hitter in the modern era. Jason just needs to focus on hitting the ball hard right back where it's pitched, everything else will work out. The fact that I think Jason has the athleticism to make all these adjustments should tell you I think he has more than enough talent to be more.
   32. zachtoma Posted: July 20, 2014 at 04:03 AM (#4754617)
Jason's more athletic than Chipper, and may have a better sense of the zone


Chipper had more BB than K, never struck out more than 100 times - that's extremely rare for a 30-40 HR hitter in his era. He controlled the strike zone as well as anyone, certainly better than Heyward has.
   33. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 21, 2014 at 12:11 AM (#4754962)

Don't forget his 1996 swan song with San Diego. Deer hit .180 and had an OPS+ of 125. He went 9 for 50 with 4 home runs, 3 doubles, and 14 walks.


Almost as good as Russ Branyan's stint with the Phillies. 9 plate appearances, 2 home runs, 6 strikeouts, and 1 other out for a robust .222/.222/.889.

Branyan is currently slugging .646 with the Toros de Tijuana, which would put him 5th in the league if he had played the whole season.
   34. bigglou115 Posted: July 21, 2014 at 03:44 AM (#4754984)
@32 Yeah, that was a mistake, and one I shouldn't have made.
   35. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: July 21, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4755501)
So the Giants (naturally) sign him to a minor league deal today. This seems like the appropriate link.

McCovey Chronicles comparison to Jeff Francoeur
   36. Rants Mulliniks Posted: July 22, 2014 at 07:51 AM (#4755579)
Why the hell is Fredi batting BJ Upton leadoff?????
   37. formerly dp Posted: July 22, 2014 at 08:40 AM (#4755587)
Chipper had more BB than K, never struck out more than 100 times -
Roids can do amazing and unpredictable things to a body.
   38. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 22, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4755645)
Why the hell is Fredi batting BJ Upton leadoff?????


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