Truth is, the Braves wasted much more than $19 million on Uggla. They signed him to a five-year contract worth $62 million prior to the 2011 season. His net Wins Above Replacement since then is two. So he's effectively been worth two more wins than the average major leaguer the Braves could have assigned to play second base the past three and a half seasons.
Of course, Uggla doesn't even play regularly at second base anymore. Rookie Tommy La Stella has taken over the job, and Uggla has been a pinch-hitter who doesn't hit much. His line is .175/.295/.332 since the start of 2013. He did hit 22 homers last year, but has only knocked two out of the park this season in 130 at-bats.
The Braves simply had no use for Uggla anymore and they'll now eat the money they owed him through 2015 — about $19 million, according to Ken Rosenthal, who broke news of Uggla's release.
The writing had been on the wall all week that Uggla's dismissal was coming. He was suspended by the team Sunday for one game after showing up late, but most figured the Braves were also doing that to buy themselves some time, the All-Star break, to figure out what to do with Uggla.
They didn't even bother putting him on waivers, well aware no other team would take on Uggla's contract. And what a contract it was. The Braves bought at the highest of highs and got left with the collapse. He had a .287 average and 105 RBIs, both career highs, for the Marlins in 2010 before a winter trade to the Braves. Atlanta immediately signed Uggla to an extension and things didn't go horribly right away. He hit 36 homers and had 82 RBIs in 2011, but his .233 batting average was a sign of things to come.
Now, Uggla, 34, seems likely to catch on somewhere, at least as a low-risk gamble heading into pennant races. There are a few teams out there that could use a second baseman at a pro-rated league-minimum contract. The Cincinnati Reds, who are without an injured Brandon Phillips, and San Francisco Giants, who have a hodge-podge of inexperienced and/or injured second basemen, are two teams that immediately jump out.
Those two fan bases are probably groaning at the thought. Don't worry, Braves fans more than feel your pain.
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