Mark Bowman opens his latest blog post with this:
Over the past few years I've heard some Braves players and coaches complain about the fact that the front office has not been able to make the likes of Gary Sheffield, J.D. Drew and Mark Teixeira anything more than short-term rentals.
Sheffield, Drew and Teixeira each made an impact during their short stays in Atlanta. But they weren't given the opportunity that awaits Dan Uggla, courtesy of the five-year $62 million contract extension he and the Braves agreed to Tuesday night.
The point remains that not giving each of those players long-term deals was a good move. Sheffield because his production declined after two good years. Drew because he has yet to match the numbers he put up while in Atlanta, and Teixeira because the money per year he would have commanded would have taken up way too much of the Braves salary budget.
Dan Uggla might be a better risk than these other guys because he plays a premium position, but my objection to a long-term contract for him still stands (as it does for most players over 30; changing baseball landscape be damned). I do like the point Bowman brings up that a deal like this has a lot to do with sending a message to the rest of the players on the team that the Braves are serious about keeping good players around long-term.
Look, I get all the arguments for why many believe this contract is a good deal, but I'm just not on that bandwagon. I'm going to get a lot of flack for saying this, but I guess one of the things that really bothers me about being stuck with Uggla is the notion I have (real or imagined) that some people have been expecting him to decline for a few years. Perhaps the fact that he was a Rule-5 player helps reinforce that notion. That, combined with everything else I've already written in previous posts, gives me sort of a gut feeling, and as Dan Stark says, "always go with your gut."
I've beat this horse enough, so I'll try to promise that this will be the last post on the subject for a while.