Dan Uggla brings a reliable bat to a team lacking reliable bats. But he’s a lousy fielder — the 2010 Braves weren’t very good at catching the ball, either — and he turns 31 in March. So now I ask: Is this the guy you want to re-up for $60 million over five seasons?
Nick Cafardo, the fine baseball writer for the Boston Globe, just Tweeted that “Atlanta sources tell me Dan Uggla closing in on a five-year, $60-$61 million extension.” If this is true, I say …
That’s almost Chipper Jones money. For a guy who demonstrably isn’t Chipper Jones.
You can argue that Uggla is a better hitter at 30 than Chipper is at 38 — and Uggla isn’t coming off knee surgery — but still: Twelve million a year for a guy who has driven in 100 runs once in his career and who has never hit .300 and who’s surely going to have to find a new position soon? That’s a lot of money.
If you’re a fan, you wouldn’t mind such an outlay. If you’re a fan, you’re tired of the one-and-dones — J.D. Drew, Mark Teixeira — breezing through town en route to a massive contract elsewhere. And you’d hate to have given away the All-Stat utilitarian Omar Infante and the live young arm of Mike Dunn for another rental. (And besides, it isn’t your money. It’s Liberty Media’s.)
Me, I’m not sure Uggla is a cornerstone player. I think he’s good man to have on a team, but I don’t see him as a man capable of carrying said team. On the one hand, it’d be nice to see the Braves willing to invest so much money again. On the other, I’m not certain this is the man in whom so much should be invested.
You are, as ever, free to disagree. And I know you will.
By Mark Bradley