Leaving Uggla (and his salary) off the roster

Chris Gardner

Two important to things to know about Dan Uggla:

1. Dan Uggla means "pesky owl" in Scandinavian.

2. Dan Uggla and his $13-million salary have been left off the Braves' Division Series roster.

Oh, and I suppose it's also worth knowing that Uggla is the Braves' highest-paid player.

How did he respond to the decision? Here's an amalgam of tweets from MLB.com's Mark Bowman:

Uggla initially thought about going home and did not want to attend yesterday's workout. But he said he's now thinking more reasonably, will travel with the team to LA. He confirmed the conversation with Fredi and Frank was very brief. He walked away quickly.

And there's also this:

Hey, you absolutely cannot blame Uggla for being disappointed. When you start 130 games for a team that wins 96 games, you're naturally going to believe you played a positive role, and remember more of the good times than the bad. But man, there was a lot of bad.

Uggla did hit 22 home runs. That ranked second in the National League among second basemen.*

* Bonus points for knowing that Jedd Gyorko led the way with 23 homers.

Alas, hitting home runs was literally the only thing Uggla did well this season.

Actually, that's not fair! He also drew a bunch of walks. Unfortunately, he struck out so many times and hit into such bad luck that he batted just .179. That's the second-worst figure for a major leaguer with at least 502 plate appearances since World War II.

But wait. This gets worse. After LASIK surgery in August, Uggla went 8 for 60 with one extra-base hit. Oh, and by virtually every reputable measure, he's a lousy fielder.

So what do you think? Can Dan Uggla help his team win? Well, he's not a good second baseman and isn't really qualified to play any other position. You might still want to play him at second base against left-handed pitchers ... but only if you believe the last two months were some sort of a statistical fluke.

Counterpoint? Dan Uggla's job has been handed to Elliott Johnson. Who can't hit. He can field, though. He can field real well. And you can understand some skepticism about Uggla's ability to adjust to bench duties. Since he's never really done it before.

Roster spots are precious, and especially in October. If he'd shown any hitting ability in September at all, or if he had any value as a utility infielder, maybe you could figure out a way to keep him. I'm sure management tried. But the math just doesn't work, and on a variety of levels.

For much more about the Braves and their roster decisions, please visit SB Nation's Talking Chop.

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