Dan Uggla, a second baseman, has been released from the Atlanta Braves after a dismal season. The San Francisco Giants are in need of just that – someone who can play second base and split time with Marco Scutaro. Could a stint in San Francisco be in Uggla’s future? MLB.com’s Braves beat writer, Mark Bowman seems to think the Giants will at least show interest.
Uggla has hit .178 w/ a .633 OPS in his past 283 games. Still, a team will take a flier on him. The Giants will likely show interest
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 18, 2014
The floundering second baseman, who was once a power hitter, has progressively gotten worse during his time in Atlanta, but hey, that’s never stopped the Giants from signing an aging, deteriorating, middle infielder before. In fact, that’s just the thing Brian Sabean does – he takes the ragamuffins and misfits and tries to turn them into a World Series team. Maybe he’s watched The Sandlot or Bad News Bears too much, but he does have two World Series rings on his hand with a pretty non-traditional kind of team.
But let’s be serious for a moment. Could Dan Uggla actually be a good fit? Maybe, maybe not.
Why the Giants may consider Uggla
The Giants are likely looking for someone cheap. Uggla will come pretty cheap, as I imagine he won’t have teams pounding down his door with hoards of cash. The Braves are on the hook for the $18.5 million left on his contract through 2015, according to Bowman. He would be a low-risk investment so if Uggla didn’t cut it, they Giants could cut him loose. If he worked out, Sabean would look brilliant, again.
The Giants are also likely looking for a veteran who can platoon with Marco Scutaro. Scutaro is back, but he’s not in today’s lineup after almost a week off for the break, and that has to raise some concern for the front office whether he’ll even be able to platoon for the rest of the season. That said, Uggla doesn’t like being a bench player. He was recently suspended by the Braves for showing up just 30 minutes before a game in Chicago, allegedly due to his frustration of having limited playing time, according to Bowman/MLB.com. But with Scutaro’s issues, whoever is the other half of his platoon may get more playing time than not.
The Giants, Bruce Bochy in particular, has shown he likes veteran players. In fact, if his options are Uggla and Joe Panik, I’d be willing to bet Bochy picked Uggla. Also, Panik is not quite ready for big league action. He’s almost holding his own, but it’s clear he’s not the ideal guy to fill the void everyday.
Edgar Renteria. Aging. Past his prime, but when it came time to shine, he made the Giants look good.
Why the Giants may not consider Uggla
Brandon Hicks. If you remember, the Giants just DFA’d a guy a lot like Uggla in Hicks. Hicks had power, like Uggla, but was inconsistent, struck out a lot, and got worse as the season went on. The Giants may not be ready to go down that road again. But, Uggla does have more big league experience than Hicks did.
Uggla isn’t really a great defender. Remember when he made 3 errors in an All Star game? At least Hicks was an adequate defender in the middle infield.
They may want to go after someone better, like Ben Zorbrist or Chase Utley. That’s what the fans want, and if the Giants are serious about playoffs, they have to pull the trigger and give up a prospect. It’s unlikely that Uggla will be our lightning in a bottle toward that playoff run.
Personally, I think the Giants will and should explore the option. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a team with Uggla on it. I don’t care for him as a player, but he’s not the worst out there. If he comes cheap enough, it could be a nice backup plan. That said, I do think the Giants should consider a bigger move at second base before the playoff deadline.