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Atlanta Braves leave Dan Uggla, their highest paid player, off NLDS roster

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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Dan Uggla and his .179 batting average aren't on the Atlanta Braves roster for the NLDS, which opens Thursday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Take away the name and you think, "Yeah, of course, why would you have a guy hitting that poorly on your postseason roster."

Well, the Braves have many, many reasons to expect production from Uggla. In fact, they have 13 million of them. Uggla is the team's highest-paid player, making $13 million this season. That's good money for a guy who's going to sit around when the games matter most.

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Uggla's never been a high-average hitter, but hitting .220 in 2012 was respectable by comparison. This year, Uggla hit 22 homers, but only has 80 hits. His WAR value is -1.3, ninth-worst among players who appeared in at least 100 games.

"Yesterday might have been one of hardest days I've had as a major league manager," Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez told reporters Wednesday, including David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We feel like we put our best 25 out there to face the Dodgers."

Instead of Uggla, the Braves will start Elliot Johnson at second base. He's been playing there a lot for the Braves since late August when he was acquired from the Kansas City Royals. Utilityman Paul Janish can play second base as well, if needed.

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Uggla, despite that wretched batting average, isn't even the most disappointing player on the Braves this season. That title goes to B.J. Upton, an offseason free-agent signing who has a -1.8 WAR and is hitting a sad .184 with nine homers and 26 RBIs. He's the second highest-paid Brave this season, making $12.45 million. He is, by the way, on the Braves postseason roster (and the cover of Sports Illustrated, which couldn't possibly jinx him at this point).

It's a wonder the Braves are as good as they are, with their two biggest contacts floundering as they have. Luckily, Atlanta has Freddie Freeman around. He's getting paid $560,000 and has a 5.4 WAR.

As for Uggla, well, at least he has his abs to keep him company on the bench.

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