Uggla, Braves optimistic about extension for slugger

When the Marlins asked two weeks ago if Braves general manager Frank Wren would trade Martin Prado for Florida slugger Dan Uggla, Wren said he told them no and dangled Omar Infante instead.

Since Marlins GM Larry Beinfest had not replied about Infante, Wren must’ve been a bit surprised when Beinfest passed him a note in a group session Tuesday at the general managers meetings in Orlando.

On the slip of paper, Beinfest asked if Wren would still do the Uggla trade for Infante and a pitcher.

A few hours later, the two GMs announced the first big trade of baseball’s offseason: Second baseman Uggla to the Braves for All-Star infielder Infante and Mike Dunn, the third lefty in Atlanta’s bullpen.

On Friday, the Braves unveiled their new slugger at Turner Field, where Uggla posed for pictures in his No. 26 jersey and talked of how enthused he was to be coming home – or at least close to it.

“This is the closest big-league team to my home, and it creates an incredible opportunity for my family and friends to be able to come down and watch on a more consistent basis,” said Uggla, 30, who is from Columbia, Tennessee, about one hour south of Nashville.

“To play on a team like this, to play for an organization like this, is a great honor. It’s just going to drive me more this offseason, to help this team and to work as hard as I can to do everything I can to make sure that everything is going to be left out on the field.”

He said he was honored to switch from the No. 6 he wore in Florida, since the Braves will retire that number when retired manager Bobby  Cox is inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame.

Uggla was flanked by Wren and new Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who had Uggla on his Florida teams for 3-1/2 seasons before Gonzalez was fired in June. Uggla said if he had to be traded, then being shipped to Atlanta and reunited with Gonzalez was a nice outcome.

“Great acquisition,” Gonzalez said. “We were looking for a guy who’s going to hit in the middle of the lineup, and we got this guy. Lucky for us.”

Asked what sets Uggla apart, Gonzalez said, “Consistency. Every day he was the same guy, no matter if he’d gone 0-for-4 the night before, or 4-for-4. As a manager, you like to see that in your players. He wants to play, and the only thing he wants to do is win….

“You [reporters] are going to like him, because it doesn’t matter what happens on the field, he’s going to be there [after the game]. He’s accountable, not only to his teammates but to everybody.”

Uggla grew up watching the Braves on TBS, like so many others of a certain age from the South and elsewhere. Unlike them, Uggla grew up to hit more homers than most of those Braves he watched.

He averaged nearly 31 home runs and 93 RBIs with the Marlins, totaling more homers (154) than any other middle infielder in major league history during his first five seasons, and making two All-Star teams.

Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols is the only NL right-handed hitter to hit more homers in the past five seasons than Uggla, who never hit fewer than 28 for the Marlins and won a Silver Slugger award as the  NL’s best-hitting second baseman in 2010.

Now the question on the minds of Braves fans: Can Wren and the Braves get him to stay in Atlanta long-term, or will Uggla play just one season before leaving as a free agent?

Both sides indicated Friday that a multi-year contract extension is something they would seriously pursue, and Uggla and Wren both seemed sincere about wanting it to happen.

“It’s something we have to sit down and talk about and discuss,” said Uggla, who turned down a four-year, $48 million offer from the Marlins, reportedly submitting a counterproposal of five years, $71 million.

Uggla is expected to command close to $11 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility, after making $7.8 million in 2010 and posting career-highs in batting average (.287), homers (33), RBIs (105), on-base percentage (.369) and slugging percentage (.508).

What it might take to keep him in Atlanta long-term remains to be seen, but some believe Uggla won’t demand quite as much as he might’ve to stay in Florida.

“Whatever the years and amount of money, that’s up to us to come to an agreement on,” he said. “With that said, I’m very interested in staying here for longer than just a year.”

Wren said he talked to Uggla’s agent on Thursday and discussed how they would prefer to wait at least a while before beginning negotiations. Whether that meant a few weeks or months wasn’t clear.

“I said, we’re not putting a timetable on it, we have plenty of time,” Wren said. “Literally we have a year to put this together, and we’ll just see how the natural flow is. Right now there’s a lot of stuff going on with putting the team together and everything else, and him getting accustomed to what’s going on here and to us.

“I don’t see any reason not to do [an extension]. I mean, we knew what we were getting when we made the deal, and he was the top guy on our list. But I just don’t think we need to jump into things right now.”

Uggla said he understood Wren taking that approach.

“I’m very interested to get to know everybody in the Braves organization a lot better, and I’m sure they’re interested to get to know me,” Uggla said. “I’m sure they don’t just do things on a whim. They want to know who they’re investing in. They want to know what kind of player they’re going to get, and probably on top of that, what kind of person.

“And the same goes for me. I want to be around people that I’m going to like. And from what I’ve met so far, everybody seems like they’re just an amazing organization. Frank’s been great, the few times I’ve talked to him so far. I’ve heard nothing but great things about everybody in this organization. So I’m sure that we’re both looking forward to getting something [done].”

The Braves are expecting an infusion of much-needed power in their offense from Uggla, but no one should expect Gold Glove defense: Uggla’s 34 errors over the past two seasons were the most among major league second basemen.

The Braves have already said he will stay at second base and All-Star Martin Prado will either move to left field, or play third base if Chipper Jones isn’t fully recovered from knee surgery, or when Jones needs some time off.

Gonzalez said many of Uggla’s errors resulted from aggressiveness, ranging wide or diving to stop balls and then trying to make difficult throws instead of conceding a hit. Gonzalez said those were errors that a team could live with, and added that Uggla was as good as anyone at completing double plays with a runner bearing down on him.

Wren said he doesn’t view Uggla’s defense as a problem.

“I think he got a real bad rap because of the All-Star game a couple of years ago,” Wren said, referring to Uggla’s three-error debacle in the late innings of the 2008 All-Star game. “But I know watching him play this year, I didn’t see a below-average defensive second baseman.

“I mean, I saw a solid, average guy. Fredi and  Carlos [Tosca, new Braves bench coach who previously served in that capacity in Florida] both talk about how they don’t know anybody who turns a double play better than he does.

“Those are all key factors for that position. He’s a solid defender who can really turn the double play, which is what you’re looking for.”

Wren said he didn’t think there would be much difference, if any, in the level of second-base defense with Uggla at the position instead of Prado, and the  GM thought the Braves would be improved in left field with Prado in the outfield.

“I think Martin will improve our defense and improve our speed in left field,” he said.

Prado also gives the Braves flexibility, since he can move to third base when Jones needs rest. Uggla can stay at second base, the position he prefers. He’s only about 5 feet 10, which is short for third base.

Uggla said it meant a lot to him that Wren came out immediately after the trade and said Uggla would continue to play second base, the position he’s played throughout his major league career.

“That’s the position I love to play, and the position I’m going to continue to work at,” Uggla said. “And that’s where I want to play for the rest of my career.

“But for him to say that is obviously important. It puts a lot of things at ease. There were even rumors about me in Florida being changed to another position. I think it was more speculation, people blowing things out of proportion.

“But for him to put that to rest, put that at ease, it was great to hear.”

As for the lineup, Gonzalez said Uggla would hit fourth or fifth.

He said Jones, if healthy, will be back in his customary No. 3 spot. Uggla and Brian McCann would bat fourth and fifth, in either order, and Prado would likely bat leadoff.

If center fielder Nate McLouth is back hitting well, Gonzalez said he might bat him second and slugger Jason Heyward sixth. But he also said Heyward could bat second again.

In his preferred tentative lineup, he has shortstop Alex Gonzalez batting seventh and rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman hitting eighth.

116 comments Add your comment

will

November 19th, 2010
8:31 pm

VP

November 19th, 2010
8:34 pm

Let’s get Uggla signed long term before spring training so that we won’t have the will he or won’t he discussion.

Ernest

November 19th, 2010
8:39 pm

The sooner the Braves can get a deal for Uggla, the more appealing it might be for free agents considering the Braves also.

jmart

November 19th, 2010
8:39 pm

I believe that the Braves will get a five year deal done in the $58 million range (including this year).
Uggla’s personality will fit in perfectly with the core players on the team. The Braves are becoming a gritty bunch of players that give their all and leave nothing on the field. Last year’s trend of playing well in the 7th, 8th and 9th will continue into the future (I believe). Their pitching staff, starters and closers are getting better and better.

The Braves have been building for the future and that future begins in April, 2011.

vmguru

November 19th, 2010
8:39 pm

chin music

November 19th, 2010
8:39 pm

That’s the position I love to play, and the position I’m going to continue to work at,” *Uggla* said. “And that’s where I want to play for the rest of my career.”

right?

Kerry

November 19th, 2010
8:46 pm

Hey DOB

Have you heard anything about Andruw Jones playing CF for the Braves next year??

Andrew in PA

November 19th, 2010
8:49 pm

so his first lineup probably had heyward hitting sixth cuz nate wont be hitting there

darrin

November 19th, 2010
8:52 pm

dang im gettin closer and closer to first maybe one day i will be lucky

El Bravo

November 19th, 2010
8:55 pm

DOB, I know he is not the quality glove that you would prefer at center but, if McClouth fails again, do the Braves view Prado as an option at center with Diaz or some other slugger playing left? I know he has played all 3 outfield positions before with Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan league. Is this a possibility or is he viewed as too much of a liability?

sc ace

November 19th, 2010
8:56 pm

Lets lock up Prado long term too. Core player.

JRW7

November 19th, 2010
8:59 pm

NO NO NO, FG, don’t bat Chipper in the 3 hole, move him to 5th or 6th!

JRW7

November 19th, 2010
9:03 pm

Why would UGGLA sign for $58 million for 5 years? He’s already turned down $48 million for 4 years!

ChrisInPittsburgh

November 19th, 2010
9:09 pm

They need speed at the top of the lineup.

EDogg

November 19th, 2010
9:25 pm

Gonzalez’s tentative lineup:

Prado LF
McLouth CF
Jones 3B
McCann C
Uggla 2B
Heyward RF
Gonzalez SS
Freeman 1B

McLouth needs to get a lot better to hit in the # 2 hole, but we don’t have another true # 2 hitter. No reason for Chipper in the # 3 hole unless he’s 100% healthy (which he won’t be). Other than those two spots, it’s a solid lineup that mixes lefties and righties nicely.

jaybob

November 19th, 2010
9:29 pm

Freddie Freeman hitting 8th? That’s not gonna last…

jon hughes

November 19th, 2010
9:36 pm

That’s the position I love to play, and the position I’m going to continue to work at,” Prado said. “And that’s where I want to play for the rest of my career.
DOB I think you meant to put Uggla there instead of prado

BravesFanSince66

November 19th, 2010
9:43 pm

McLouth batting 2nd?!? EDogg, what are you drinking? Of course, like politics, everybody’s got an opinion. I would move Heyward up and if there were a 10th slot, I would put Gonzalez there.

With Chipper on the cusp of retirement, I am looking for Uggla to provide LEADERSHIP and set the standards for 2011.

Logically Insane

November 19th, 2010
9:43 pm

JRW7- Rumor has it, Uggla wanted out of Florida, I mean hardly any fans in the stands, and no real shot of being a playoff team for a while.. Not to mention his double play partner was/is a stuck up douche..
Being that its so close to his home, and all that other mumbo jumbo, I’d say Uggla would sign with Atlanta for those terms, or even less.. He wants to be on a team that appreciates him, and that he can appreciate… oh yeah, and win with.,..

Tyler

November 19th, 2010
9:46 pm

DOB,

Well written. I’d say he’d sign for 5 years-$60 mil here. I’d give it to him. Sounds like a clubhouse leader and we’ll need that when Chip retires in 2012.

I can bet you Wren will make this extension offer before ST. He knows that not signing Tex hurt his rep and the org after Feliz won the ROY and Andrus is a top rated All Star in the AL. Uggs deserves the cha-ching and it will be worth it.

Still say we go after Bill Hall and land Arthur Rhodes or Ron Mayhay.

I’ll hope to wake up tomorrow hearing about how Ske has agreed to accept Braves offer. Still think they should have offered 2 years. Dude is THE clubhouse guy.

EDogg

November 19th, 2010
10:24 pm

Gonzalez’s preferred lineup (the tentative lineup above was from his quotes):

Prado LF
Heyward RF
Jones 3B
McCann C
Uggla 2B
Freeman 1B
Gonzalez SS
McLouth CF

I still think this lineup is one player short. Heyward is not a # 2 hitter. Jones is not a # 3 hitter (anymore). Freeman – at 20 years old – is not a # 6 hitter. He is not Heyward. I still think this lineup has some real average problems at the bottom of the order. What do people prefer? The “tentative lineup” above or this “preferred lineup”????

Ugg's Juggs

November 19th, 2010
10:27 pm

We have two #2 hole hitters….prado and chip

Kerry

November 19th, 2010
10:32 pm

What’s the latest on Andruw Jones??

Bama Brave

November 19th, 2010
10:37 pm

we need speed!

rugburn

November 19th, 2010
10:39 pm

i agree…chipper is better suited to hit second or late in the order. why do the braves just automatically say that he is the 3-hole guy. it must be in his contract or they don’t want to see him cry. they asked him to hit cleanup a few years ago and he whined so much that they moved him back to 3rd.

rugburn

November 19th, 2010
10:40 pm

the latest on andruw is that he is washed up…without bobby cox, he could never make the roster

William in Pasadena

November 19th, 2010
10:54 pm

I will say it again, “Chipper and his salary are handcuffing the Braves.” I wish he would retire.

David O'Brien

November 19th, 2010
10:57 pm

jon hughes: Thanks for the catch. Yes, I meant Uggla. Will fix now. Been a long day with a whole lot of words typed.

Wooderson

November 19th, 2010
11:40 pm

Heyward MUST be in the 3 hole. He was BORN to be the #3 hitter. Hits for power, average, and has good speed. Move along, Chipper…

dr henry/augusta

November 20th, 2010
12:13 am

ONLY 34 errors the past 2 seasons? Didn’t Conrad have more than that in the divisions series???

Rhaize R Blaide

November 20th, 2010
12:26 am

We need to get Uggla signed for the long haul….This is a good deal if we do….I don’t guess Prado could play center???? Anything would be better than the Ankiel-McClouth-Melky disaster we had out there….Come on FW….Winning 14 consecutive division titles was aided because we had a CF like Andruw or Nixon or Grissom or even Kenny Lofton for a year….Guys that could hit, play solid defense, and have some speed…I know CF’s don’t grow on trees but we were playing people that didn’t belong in the majors!!!

sign Bill Hall

November 20th, 2010
12:28 am

Welcome back Henski…now sign Hall and let Diaz go. Mather who? another cheap fill in, man that gets old=buy a car from junk yard and expect it to run like a new one. Come on Wren you can do better.

P. Bull Terrier

November 20th, 2010
12:40 am

I think I know a lot about baseball, but I’ve never heard of height being a consideration for a 3B. The article mentions that Uggla is “only about 5 feet 10, which is short for third base.” I know most teams are looking for power from a 3B and bigger guys are more likely to generate that power, but Uggla has already demonstrated that he can hit for power. I’m not arguing that the Braves should put Uggla at 3B, just wondering if there is some reason that I’m not aware of for wanting a 3B taller than 5′10″.

Brave4life

November 20th, 2010
1:37 am

Man i like that we got sluggers, but now i have nothing to look forward to until spring training. Wren took no time in getting a deal done

bravo

Darryl Blackberry

November 20th, 2010
2:52 am

I’d rather see Alex Gonzalez batting eighth, personally. He’s aggressive enough to fit the bill, certainly, which is what one wants from that spot in the order. Still, with his amount of pop, it’s unlikely. Whoever plays CF will probably bat eighth, since we all know Freddie Freeman ain’t gonna stay down there for long…

Darryl Blackberry

November 20th, 2010
2:53 am

On a side note, man, we’re gonna miss Mike Dunn. He’s probably the Marlins’ future closer.

Lee

November 20th, 2010
3:08 am

For the couple of people who said Chipper can’t/shouldn’t hit in the #3 hole, I completely disagree. If you go back and take a look at the Braves offensive numbers this past season, pre-Chipper injury and post-Chipper injury, I have a feeling a pretty stark difference will surface…

When Chipper is being the consummate professional hitter everyone knows he can be (instead of following in McCann & Francouer’s lead of swinging at the first pitch every at-bat), he IS/WAS the one person in the lineup opposing managers wouldn’t let beat ‘em….

While Heyward is the long term #3 hitter of the future, there is nothing wrong with allowing him to hit in the #6 hole for another year or two while he matures and gets to know the pitchers. Plus, that leaves him available to pick up some clutch 2 out hits with RISP to drive in more runs.

JMAYNE

November 20th, 2010
3:16 am

That lineup is ridiculous. If McLouth can figure out how to hit it should be

McOUT 8
Prado 7
Heyward 9
Uggla 4
McCann 2
Chipper 5
Gonzo 6
Freeman 3

IF not, which will probably be the case.

Prado-Heyward-Chipper-McCann-Uggla-Freeman-Gonzo-McClouth

Need to go get Upton or Ellsbury.

ajc pariah

November 20th, 2010
5:40 am

Errers,as Skip would say.make me sick.Sadly, the Braves seem to ignore fundamentals annually.Funny how ham handed Dunn was eschewd two years ago for his defensively challenged game. Bad as I hate them errers, I think his thump would have been a difference maker.Hopefully Uggla can. Of course if Freeman can play third or center, I’d welcome Dunn for what we’ll pay Uggla and take my chances on the right side.

keef

November 20th, 2010
5:49 am

GREAT JOB WREN!
Now we have to do something about the McGuirk/Liberty Media arrangement. They have this cozy arrangement controlling salary which means McGuirk gets a bonus taking the heat about not getting us over 100 million. BOTH have to go. It is a SHAME we cannot get Justin Upton too…
Liberty Media’s CEO (Maffei) makes 4 MIILLION MORE ($88million) THAN OUR ENTIRE PAYROLL ($84Million)!!!
THAT should not happen.

Joey

November 20th, 2010
8:08 am

keef, if Liberty Media’s board and stockholders didn’t think Maffei was worth the money, he wouldn’t get it.

I’d like to make a paycheck like his, but I’d probably run the company in the ground.

You can always buy stock in Liberty Media, and raise hell at the stockholders meetings if you don’t like his pay.

Jsep

November 20th, 2010
8:13 am

I sure hope Heyward isn’t hitting in the 2 spot. We need someone who can make regular contact and actually lay a bunt down. The braves have no speed at the top of the order yet again and we need someone to sacrifice Prado over after he gets his hits. Case in point, game 1 of the NLDS Infante leads off with a double. Heyward doesnt attempt to bunt him over to third. He weakly flies out to left. Giants win 1-0. Right now the Braves have no #2 hitter. Heyward is better suited in the 6 hole.

mark bradley's 70's fro and mustache

November 20th, 2010
8:30 am

Chipper has a high OBP. He should bat 3rd. Last year prado on lead off and heyward 2nd seemed great. Chipper is good at drawing walks.

mark bradley's 70's fro and mustache

November 20th, 2010
8:32 am

@Joey, If you had stock, then you should have some input on who should be signed.

mark bradley's 70's fro and mustache

November 20th, 2010
8:34 am

@Jsep, Heyward is not calling the shots on to bunt, that was the caoching staff.

toby

November 20th, 2010
9:39 am

we need to get s speedy outfielder to lead off,we havent had speed at the top in a looooong time,weve got the right handed bat now all we need is Ellsbury and i beleive we are a legit top WS contender! Here’s just a thought……can we put Heyward in CF,and bring Francouer back to play RF……JUST A THOUGHT?????

toby

November 20th, 2010
9:44 am

one other thing….i hope Fredi makes everyone show up at the earliest possible date for spring training & pounds,,,& i mean pounds the fundamentals into the braves,,,,i mean lord how many times did not getting a runner over from 2nd with no outs,or not get a bunt down cost us last year,dont know an exact number but i bet it’s 5 or 6 games,and thats a lot of games to lose because of not being able to play ABC baseball????

Jack

November 20th, 2010
10:07 am

I think the Braves will sign him. I have no problem with 5 years if that is what it takes. I also think Uggla will agree somewhere a little less than the middle of what he wanted from the Marlins and what they offered him. Uggla come across to me as a Brooks Conrad type player but with much more talent.

Notso Fast

November 20th, 2010
10:13 am

Just get it done soon.

justin1

November 20th, 2010
10:25 am

Just imagine getting McCutchen from the Pirates for say, McLouth and Viz and maybe one other prospect. That would get the rings in Atlanta for sure. Think about that lineup. WOW!

1. McCutchen
2. Prado
3. Chipper
4. Uggla
5. McCann
6. Heyward
7. Freeman
8. Gonzalez

THAT would be incredible.

braveshoo

November 20th, 2010
10:36 am

I have been reading about how good our young pitching prospects are. Minor and Beachy are both ready for the big club, and Tehran and Delgado will also likely be ready before the end of the year. We also have Viscaino and others about a year behind them, and hopefully Medlin will be back by September. As a result, I think we should make a move for Colby Rasmus. A good CF with + defense and power is all we need to put us over the top next year, and going forward. Even if McClouth rediscovers his stroke, we aren’t going to keep him past this year. I think we should trade JJ for Rasmus, using Minor and Beachy as our 4th and 5th starters, and call up Tehran or Delgado in July for either the rotation or the pen. If St Louis wont bite, then I’d offer Tehran or Delgado instead. We have enough great young pitching to replace our entire starting rotation over the next 2 years. We need a great young CF who is not even arbitration eligible until 2011. If St Louis wont play ball, then I’d try the same approach with Pittsburg for McCuchen.

IHEARTCARROLL

November 20th, 2010
10:43 am

Just wondering what Carroll Rogers thinks of Uggla. I won’t comment on the trade until I know what her opinion is.

LTBF

November 20th, 2010
10:48 am

McCutchen would be great for us but think they would want to much for him.

LTBF

November 20th, 2010
10:55 am

I just can’t stand anouther year of Nate in CF. Why not offer FA Ankriel a contract? He is not a very good hitter but does hit over .200 that is better than Nate.

RD

November 20th, 2010
11:22 am

Could Matt Diaz play 1st Base and backup Freddie Freeman?

Ernest

November 20th, 2010
11:44 am

Enter your comments here

STRETCH

November 20th, 2010
12:37 pm

By Tim Dierkes [January 9, 2008 at 4:02pm CST]

As I mentioned in my Braves Needs and Luxuries post, the one piece missing from this puzzle is a decent big league center fielder. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mark Kotsay and Corey Patterson could be options.

In regards to Kotsay, O’Brien doesn’t specifically say the Braves are interested. It’s more implied based on the fact that no one has told him the Braves aren’t interested. Kotsay has one year left on his deal at $8MM, and it’s thought that the A’s might eat half of that to ship him out. Who knows, maybe he can toss up 500 ABs with a .700 OPS one more time. I doubt he would require much in the way of a prospect.

Patterson is another option, though O’Brien thinks the Braves would top out at a one-year, $3MM deal. Surely Scott Boras can do better than that, right? He’s young and plays solid defense!

I still think the Braves should go after Cameron…he’s the best option and this is not the time to be cheap. Even going to one year and $6MM for Patterson makes more sense than Kotsay.

tim scott

November 20th, 2010
1:26 pm

given FW track record I fully believe he will find a way to screww this up. Don’t be suprised if he trades Uggla for a couple stiffs saying something to the effect they are versatile multi position players who can’t hit their weight but they will prove invaluable but for what we are trying to do here. Bottom line the ownership wouldn’t pony up for exstension this is a tax write off and being successful makes the Braves more valuable which is not good for their bottom line.

Lee

November 20th, 2010
1:33 pm

With the acquisition of Uggla, the need for middle of the order power has been taken care of. Now, the missing ingredient to building a lineup that would allow every hitter to be place in their best suited place in the order would be to acquire a speedy CF that can leadoff.

The player that is rumored to be available that would meet this criteria is Ellsbury. The biggest problem I see here is that the Braves & Red Sox don’t match up very well in positions of need. Plus, Boston has quite a few hot prospects in the fold too. Whether they could be enticed to take on McLouth (contract) if we threw in a decent prospect would be enough to get a deal done is doubtful.I suppose it would depend on how highly ranked of a prospect we would include in a deal or be willing to throw quite a bit of $$ in the deal.

IF we could pull off a deal to get Ellsbury, that would allow Prado to slide down to the #2 hole where he is ideally suited to be. Lineup would look like this:

.. 1) Ellsbury .. CF
.. 2) Prado …… LF
.. 3) Chipper … 3B
.. 4) Uggla …… 2B
.. 5) McCann…. C
.. 6) Heyward .. RF
.. 7) Gonzalez .. SS
.. 8) Freeman .. 1B
.. 9) Pitcher

Having a guy like Heyward lurking in the #6 hole should result in Uggla/McCann getting better pitches to hit. IF McCann can alter his approach to what it was a couple of years ago to swing at better pitches, then the lineup could be lethal. As the season progresses, and Freeman gets acclimated to big league pitching, I can see where he and Gonzalez could switch places too.

Elmer Fudd

November 20th, 2010
1:54 pm

Agree with Jsep…Heyward needs to be in the 6th slot until he can bunt and stops looking at 3rd strike.

Don’t mind Braves being frugal during the off-season and beyond as long as they get players that give us a good chance. Would like Uggla for 5 years for $58-60. But don’t want them to revert back to wasting the future by giving away great prospects.

Michael from Macon

November 20th, 2010
4:11 pm

don’t think we have any chance of acquiring a center fielder

Speedy Gonzalez

November 20th, 2010
5:14 pm

Martin Prado & centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of the Braves’ lineup would terrorize the National League, and offer unlimited RBI opportunities for Chipper, Uggla, McCann and Jason.

Ellsbury isn’t making that much, and could had for the right pric

rugburn

November 20th, 2010
5:29 pm

i like ellsbury in cf,especially if it cuts out the andruw jones talk. andruw was potentially one of the greats,but we had a manager that didn’t push him to work hard, stay in shape,or even to hustle. andruw has been a lollygagger for years and i don’t think it can be reversed.

Jimbo Jones

November 20th, 2010
6:13 pm

@Lee

Agree with you that Ellsbury would be just what the doctor ordered but I would make a fee changes to the lineup you suggested.

1) Ellsbury (L)
2) Prado (R)
3) Heyward (L)
4) Uggla (R)
5) McCann (L)
6) Jones (S)
7) Gonzo (R)
8) Freeman (L)

Prado did very well last year leading off but I view him as a perfect 2-hole hitter, who can also move a guy over if he needs to. Ellsbury would be nice at lead off, as well since he is a lefty.

Chipper had some of the worst production from the three hole last year in the NL until he started to heat up before his injury. I just don’t see him being able to sustain a high level of production for the entire season given all of his nagging injuries. It’s time to go ahead and put Heyward where he belongs in the three hole.

Uggla would be perfect batting clean up, especially with McCann and Chipper following up behind him. Freeman could start out in the 8 hole and then move up to 6 when/if Chipper gets injured.

This would give us a left-right combo throughout the either lineup, secure our defensive needs and what I view to be a need for a lefty lead off guy. This could be a pretty devastating line up. McClouth could be insurance for Prado or Heyward, who are slightly injury prone.

Ross and Hinske would be the makings of a pretty good bench. Might not be a bad idea to try and pick up Scutaro as a viable utility replacement for Omar, too.

Justacaringfan

November 20th, 2010
6:19 pm

Diaz can’t play anything– just hit…sometimes. forget Diaz, Jones, Frenchy,Schafer and Mathers..SIgn BILL Hall…..also
LHRP’s one of the 4… Scott Down, Arthur Rhodes, Brian Fuentes are RHRP Grant Balfour.

Hall can back up all three outfield positions and 2nd base, 3rd base and SS without missing a beat.Could play 3rd (regular if had to)so Prado could stay in LF. Put Young in CF and see what happens. Come on Wren make it happen..Go Braves

bob

November 20th, 2010
7:05 pm

Has anyone consider how many holes are in a Chipper Gonzales Uggla infield? They need a SS and a CF by Spring.

Tated

November 20th, 2010
8:36 pm

i like ellsbury in cf,especially if it cuts out the andruw jones talk. andruw was potentially one of the greats,but we had a manager that didn’t push him to work hard, stay in shape,or even to hustle. andruw has been a lollygagger for years and i don’t think it can be reversed.

Now I dont ever post but how you can put down Bobby for Andrews short comings is beyond me when Bobby did something to him that I have only seen happen a handful of times in the whole time I have been watching baseball and thats pull the centerfielder during a inning for lack of hustle and if he was lollygagging in centerfield it was a amazing lollygagging with all those amazing catches.

OT

November 20th, 2010
8:53 pm

Agree we need to sign Hall. .

rugburn

November 20th, 2010
9:28 pm

bobby did pull andruw … one time… he never really got his attention.. i’m just saying a manager should get more. bobby couldn’t because he let chipper get away with it daily. lopez, mcgriff, mccann, these guys were stars who got away with slacking. then along come wannabes like giles who thought they should get away with it too. pretty soon you have a team that doesn’t hustle. the braves. their conditioning isn’t good. most of them look like babe ruth and hit like ruth buzzi.

SwampWise

November 20th, 2010
11:14 pm

When Bonds hit .370 that is the highest in his era. TEN guys hit over .400 in Ruth’s era.

In terms of OPS+:

The highest single-season performances were:
Barry Bonds, 268 (2002)
Barry Bonds, 263 (2004)
Barry Bonds, 259 (2001)
Fred Dunlap, 258 (1884)*
Babe Ruth, 256 (1920)
Babe Ruth, 239 (1921)
Babe Ruth, 239 (1923)
Ted Williams, 235 (1941)
Ted Williams, 233 (1957)
Ross Barnes, 231 (1876)**
Barry Bonds, 231 (2003)

Bonds, Ruth, and Williams are widely regarded as the best hitters in the history of the sport.

Bonds also hit .370 twice this decade, had close to a 1-8 HR-AB ratio, broke HIS OWN walks record four times, once while hitting 73 HRs and breaking the single season HR record, in one year (2004) getting on base more times than at bats. He also out intentionally walked that season more times than EVERY TEAM IN HISTORY COMBINED, and almost more than Mickey Mantle in his CAREER.

All the MLBs ideals and unbreakable records were set by Barry Bonds this decade. He also won 4 MVPs this decade, more than anybody in the MLB history in their CAREER.

Thoughts?

Bonds also owns the 7 highest walk seasons in the history of the league.

Bonds is also has 756 HRs WHILE getting blackballed by the league.

Bonds also was intentionally walked 120 times in 2004 ALONE, more than every team in MLB history COMBINED and almost more than Mickey Mantle in his CAREER.

Bonds also has 7 MVPs, more than DOUBLE ANYBODY in MLB history.

Bonds also has 8 Gold Gloves, and is widely regarded as the BEST left fielder in the history of the game (don’t make me post articles)

Bonds also is the ONLY member of the 500-500 club, let alone the 700-500 club, and is one of four players to have a 40-40 season.

Bonds also broke the single season HR record (then 70) AND the single season walks record AT THE SAME TIME.

Oh, and Bonds has all the records. Most HRs in a single postseason, most walks in a single postseason, highest OPS in a single postseason (almost 2.000), anything.

Did I mention Bonds did it in the LIVELY ball, INTEGRATED era? Or that he homered off almost FIVE HUNDRED different pitchers?

End of discussion. Barry Bonds was the greatest there ever was. Has all the records, stats, and MVPs. Best in ALL FIVE TOOLS stats.

So Cal Brave

November 21st, 2010
12:57 am

@ SwampWise: no one cares.

So Cal Brave

November 21st, 2010
2:23 am

It’s gonna take a lot to get J. Upton or Kemp, but Ellsbury could work. I wonder if the Red sox would take McLouth and JJ for him and a prospect… I think McLouth could actually post monster numbers (pun not intended) with the short porch in right field, he’s a line drive pull hitter, perfect for that stadium, and they need a left fielder since Hall probably won’t return. We can dream, I guess…

larry

November 21st, 2010
8:01 am

Just finshed looking at Matt Youngs #s he could be a surprise for CF.

NW Florida Fan

November 21st, 2010
8:16 am

Wow – I am very happy with the Uggla trade. However – wouldn’t it be wise to wait until the middle/end of the season to negotiate a contract extension? In baseball, all money is guaranteed (see Mike Hampton for proof.) He will be a Brave in 2011, for sure. Let’s wait and see how 2011 pans-out before we commit millions of dollars to 2012 and beyond.

ATLfan15

November 21st, 2010
9:07 am

@SwampWise: you can let it go, Bonds isn’t playing anymore. he was (and still is) a major league prick who admittedly took steroids and then tried to back-pedal off that admission. no matter what Bonds’ stats may be, Hammerin’ Hank Aaron will ALWAYS be the TRUE home run king.

now, you run along to the Giants blog/website where folks are actually interested in your topic of choice.

ATLfan15

November 21st, 2010
9:11 am

Kemp would be a good pick-up. Ellsbury would too. but the possibility of either one of those guys coming to ATL is slim imo. i believe we’d have to give up too much.

there are plenty of clubs going after J. Upton, because he’s not a burgeoning head case like his brother BJ.

ATLfan15

November 21st, 2010
9:13 am

@NW Florida Fan: i see your reasoning, but Uggla isn’t a walking injury waiting to happen like Hampton. how many times has Uggla been on the DL in his career? anyone know? pretty sure he’s never been sent to the DL for a hangnail, unlike Hampton. ;-)

In Fredi I Trust

November 21st, 2010
9:48 am

DOB,

Can’t we trade Lowe for a OF bat after the season he had? How about we trade him back to the Red Sox and go after Ellsbury? Even if we ate half of Lowe’s contract we would still be saving enough to say go get Javier Vasquez. That way we can get a true leadoff hitter and base stealer and unload Lowe. It sounds real good to me, what are your thoughts?

Dent

November 21st, 2010
10:29 am

Could Andy LaRoche who was designated by the Pirates be someone we could use on our bench? Seems like he could fit in many roles.

beachcomber

November 21st, 2010
11:22 am

Awesome stat – that only Pujois has hit more homers from the right side than Uggla over the past five years. That and his blue collar ethic make this a guy we want long term.

Bro

November 21st, 2010
11:31 am

Don’t worry about the extension for Uggla–IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. The Braves like to trade away players for those one year wonders. Elvis is alive and well in Texas and we have an attitude at shortstop. Just like we had with Escobar. Way to go Wren. Once again you get nothing for your trade. Why would you ever trade for a bench player with the cubs to play first base. Genius at work.

bravesfaninNashville

November 21st, 2010
11:48 am

Bro……..are you listening to yourself? Have you read the comments that Uggla has made regarding playing for the Braves long term with his family being 3 hours north near Nashville? Frank Wren is playing it smart not being too eager to get into negotiations too soon with Uggla. It sends the message that the Braves aren’t going to make an emotional decision and overpay. Right now I’d say Uggla wants to sign with the Braves more than any other team because he grew up a Braves fan, loves playing for Fredi G. and is close to his family. He won’t give us a hometown discount per say but he also is likely to sign in this offseason and not take his services to free agency because he could really be happy in Atlanta and if the Braves offer him something 5 yrs $60 million or more I’ll bet we’ll sign him. He wants a respectable contract for what his consistency warrants. Escobar was a head case and Alex G. is a passionate player who wants to play well and expresses disappointment when he doesn’t. I’ll take that any day over a guy like Andrew who had a smirk on his face when he struck out or Yunel who didn’t hustle when he hit a ground ball or pop up. Alex G is a proven winner and I’ll take his Latin fire because he wants to help this team and I’ll be we’ll see him do that next year when the lineup has some help around him so he doesn’t feel like he has to come up with all the big hits like he did at the end of last year with Chipper and Prado out and Infante tiring at the end, Derrick Lee and Heyward has bad wrist and or thumb injuries that kept them from being able to take a pain free swing. Alex had a lot of pressure on him that he won’t have next year with everyone being back healthy and the addition of Uggla. With our pitching staff we’ll play neck and neck with the Phillies unless we have long term injuries. Frank Wren is doing an amazing job given the budget and the state of the farm system he inherited from JS. He has us back to a big time position of strength in the pitching department and hung onto Heyward and Freeman while he built a playoff team with very little money. Lighten up Bro and enjoy this team next summer it’s going to be one of the best ones in many years for Atlanta.

David O'Brien

November 21st, 2010
12:22 pm

Can’t we trade Lowe for a OF bat after the season he had? How about we trade him back to the Red Sox and go after Ellsbury? Even if we ate half of Lowe’s contract we would still be saving enough to say go get Javier Vasquez. — In Fredi I Trust

With all due respect, I’m glad you trust Fredi (and presumably Wren). Because if this trade suggestion is any indication, your own moves might be a disaster. I mean, trade Lowe and eat half of his contract in order to sign Javier Vazquez? Coming off of the season that each had, that’s your suggestion?

Jimbo Jones

November 21st, 2010
12:38 pm

@ Bro

The Texas trade was all JS who coughed up the farm to try and make a playoff run his last year as GM. And granted, he was probably naive in thinking we would be able to sign Tex long-term. And here you are mockingly referring to Wren as a genius for a trade he had nothing to do with and acting like this is his Modus Operandi. Kind of ironic don’t you think, Bro?

Speaking of nothing, you say we got nothing in return for Uggla. Even if Uggla doesn’t sign after next year, which seems unlikely, Omar was going to be an FA after this season, too, and Dunn is not going to be a dominant closer type. In fact he was our third lefty out of the bullpen. We’ve addressed our biggest need in the offseason – pop in the middle of the order – and you consider that to be nothing?

Why are you so afflicted about this trade, or perhaps more generally about the Braves as a franchise? Wren hasn’t been perfect (e.g. Kawakami) but overall he has helped to turn the franchise around and developed a foundation for a decade of success (i.e., Heyward, Freeman, Prado, Uggla, Teheran, Delgado, Hudson, Hanson, Minor, Beachy, Kimbrel, Ventners, Vizcaino) as Nashville astutely alluded to. I’d wager you think Bobby Cox is one of the worst managers of all time, as well, no?

Skeezix

November 21st, 2010
12:53 pm

I hope McOut is not still on the roster come spring, he needs to join Greg Norton.

In Fredi I Trust

November 21st, 2010
1:53 pm

DOB,

I do trust Fredi because I believe he will do what Cox didn’t do and that is play small ball and win us many more games.

I trust Wren as well because he has made many more good moves then bad ones and that has put this team in a good position.

I firmly believe that if Vasquez were to come back, he could have at least an equal season as to what Lowe had last season at a smaller salary. Afterall, Vasquez did play like crap in NY his first around and played great for the Braves in his only season here, who is to say he couldn’t do it again, and we get a CF with very good speed and a typical leadoff hitter in the process?

MJ

November 21st, 2010
1:59 pm

Uggla is a one year player at best. Liberty will not pay him want he wants, and we’ll have lost two good players for no good reason. We traded away the best young shortstop in the game, along with this year’s AL Rookie of the Year for Tex 5 years ago. Never tried to sign Tex and lost two “core” players. Before that, we traded away Furcal & Betemit to the Dodgers for two players – one lasted a year, and one never showed up because of a substance abuse problem. The Braves need to be owned by a person, not a corporation who has no interest in the team or the city. I’d take a Turner or Blank any day, and possibly even a Steinbrenner. Those guys want to win, and would keep home grown talent. They’d also spend money to get that player who would make a difference. The team needs a real owner, and then needs to clean house in the front office.

Johnny Brave

November 21st, 2010
2:18 pm

@ Swampwise
Bonds is great, but that is irrelevent

In Fredi I Trust

November 21st, 2010
2:38 pm

The baseball season can’t come fast enough for me. My NFL team is lousy, and I am sick of football already.

OT

November 21st, 2010
2:44 pm

Johnny Brave..Bond WAS great, but he got catch with the wrong stuff………

ben bravesfan (in hibernation)

November 21st, 2010
4:17 pm

Uggla should pay real dividends for the braves. Past 2 yrs. against the division rival Phillies, Uggla has carried a .280avg /.380obs/ .505slg /.885ops line. Versus the mets he has carried a .271avg /.312obs /.588slg/ .900 ops. and not as appealing but against the nats a .212avg./ .302obs/ .318 slg/.620ops. If we minus his numbers against the braves putting up .293.avg/ .339obs/ .506slg/ 845ops . I think wren has netted the braves at least 4-5 in division games assuming all other players perform equal to or greater than last year.

Moving past the numbers, the trade shows Wren isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on acquiring a talent even if we don’t have a spot for him. I hope moving Prado to left wasn’t a reaction to this trade and instead thought out and discussed prior because their are differences involved with Arm strength, speed, perception so on.

Moving forward Id like to see Wren spend the remaining budget on a starting OF, resign Hinske, and instead of signing back ups like joe mather, leave the bench and 2 spots in the pen to the farm system I say this realizing our bench was the reason the braves made the post season 2010. Place 9 guys out there and keep them out there. Hinske should be the first off the bench in big Offensive spots.

MitchC

November 21st, 2010
4:19 pm

We cannot let this be another Mark Texaria situation, where we had him for a bit over a year, and then he left via FA, and tore it up somewhere else. Wren needs to sign Uggla long term, even if it means convincing Chipper to take a huge pay cut, or retire, to do so.

Also, Chipper is not a number 3 hitter anymore. He has to accept this. In the last couple of years of his career, Dale Murphy was dropped lower in the order.

My ideal lineup would be:

Prado
Gonzalez
Heyward
Uggla
Mccann
Chipper
Freeman
Mcclouth

I say this for several reasons. Power guys at the top, followed by what should be our best power guy cleanup, as it should be, in Uggla, a high average hitter in Mccann behind Uggla, then Chipper sixth to take the pressure off him, the rookie seventh, and Mcclouth, likely our least productive hitter, eighth.
.Obviously, we know lineups can be adjusted during the season, but that is the opening day lineup I would put on the field, unless the Braves get another bat, which I see as unlikely.

ben bravesfan (in hibernation)

November 21st, 2010
4:22 pm

i like to see a season sweep against the marlins this year.!

ben bravesfan (in hibernation)

November 21st, 2010
4:30 pm

Mitch C – agree with your lineup but id swap Chipper and Gonzalez

David O'Brien

November 21st, 2010
6:09 pm

Afterall, Vasquez did play like crap in NY his first around and played great for the Braves in his only season here, who is to say he couldn’t do it again, — In Fredi I Trust

And who’s to say he could? He had the best season of his career in 2009. He was terrible last season. You’re going to dump Lowe, after what he did last season, and roll the dice that Vazquez can return to something resembling his 2009 form? How ’bout if Vazquez pitches like he did in either the season before or after 2009, like he pitched in either ‘08 or 2010? Swap those numbers for what Lowe did last season, and the Braves wouldn’t have made the playoffs.

rugburn

November 21st, 2010
6:42 pm

will fredi have the gumption to move chipper out of the 3-hole? i doubt it. no team can survive with a 3 hitter that is more likely to hit into a double play than to drive in a run. everybody wants to talk about how he started hitting right before he got hurt. look it up. he only hit with nobody on base. maybe he should lead off. i think he had 2 rbis his last 2 weeks of hitting “good”. 2 solo shots. when people were on base in front of him, he grounded out. he is a good player still, just not a 3 hitter

bravesfaninNashville

November 21st, 2010
7:06 pm

MJ…….. Furcal left through Free Agency……. The Dodgers offered him a 3yr-$39Million deal and Bobby Cox told him it would be irresponsible to pass up that much money.

gcs

November 21st, 2010
7:35 pm

DOB,
Thanks for replenishing our Braves fix!
Baseball season NEVER ends.

.

In Fredi I Trust

November 21st, 2010
10:17 pm

DOB,

I get where you are coming from. I guess I just want to get a true leadoff hitter and great defensive CF to compliment the rest of this lineup. Now what happens when Lowe bombs next season on his way to raking the Braves for 15 million? There is a very good chance that he will, he pitched badly in 09 and he will be a year older. I guess I was looking at it as we could upgrade in the leadoff spot, and improve in CF and overall on offense with a guy like Ellsbury over McLouth and get rid of Lowe.

Ken Stallings

November 21st, 2010
10:41 pm

If we can ink Uggla to a contract extention, then this becomes the biggest steal of a trade since the Braves fleeced the Padres for Freddy McGriff for a sack of bats and a bucket of balls!

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