The general consensus among us who follow the Braves is that at some point this year the Braves are going to cut their losses and move on from Dan Uggla. So my question to everyone is when could this happen? June? July? September? Never?
Before determining when, we have to look at other factors that would allow the Braves to move on. There are several reasons why moving on without Uggla make sense. Everyone is aware of the lack of value he brings defensively but it's also the fact that the Braves don't need the skills he does bring to the table. The Braves have enough right-handed power hitters with poor contact skills in the lineup. I'm not saying right handed power is not valuable but the Braves already have two Uptons and Gattis who bring the same offensive skill-set. This skill-set is valuable when the Braves hit home runs and why they win so often when they do hit home runs. However, it's the lack of contact skills that hurt when they don't hit home runs. It would be nice to have a more balanced offensive attack. Right now the Braves only have two lefties in the lineup and not enough players capable of carrying both a high batting average and high OBP. Walks are nice and are just as good as a single in many cases but eventually someone needs to come through with a hit to drive in the base runners. Let's move on to my favorite reason Braves need to finally call it quits with Uggla is because they are lucky enough to have depth in the middle infield on the farm.
The Braves rely on Tyler Pastornicky and Ramiro Pena at second, who have been solid as backups the last two years when healthy. They could bring up Phil Gosselin who has been hot in AAA this year .375/.426/.464 to act as a utility back up option. This is likely in case of an injury to Simmons, Johnson, or Uggla in the near future. This is also the option that would likely be taken if the Braves give up on Uggla early in the season, say May.
The Braves give a mid-season call up to Tommy La Stella. If Uggla continues to play at replacement levels and if La Stella continues to hit at AAA this could very well happen the middle of this summer. La Stella is already "old" in age as a prospect and if he continues to perform well he deserves his shot at some point this year to show what he can do. I personally like the possibilities of him adding as a third lefty to the lineup, especially since he looks to possess good contact and on-base skills. The Braves have other players who can carry the load of hitting homers.
The Braves make a trade at the deadline. I'm not a fan of trading for someone when I feel the Braves have talent within the organization to make the team better.
Talking Chop previously explained that Uggla was a sunk cost and there comes a time when you admit it wont work out and you move on. That time has come, the Braves feel they are in win now mode. If the Braves can take a hit to the payroll to sign Santana then they can take a hit and release or hopefully trade Uggla. I would personally prefer if the Braves turned things over to Pena and Pastornicky as soon as possible so they can show what they can do. This also gives a little more time to La Stella in AAA. The best part of this is that the Braves can see what Pena and Pastornicky can do, if that fails they can call up La Stella in June, and if he isn't working out they can still make a move by the trade deadline. There is no reason to keep playing Dan "Replacement Level" Uggla when these other players will perform at least as well and potentially better. The last benefit is that by keeping players moving up out of the system and into the majors is it allows prospects like Jose Peraza and Elmer Reyes spots for mid-season promotions. So, what does everyone else want to see happen?