We all know the situation with Dan Uggla. His tenure in Atlanta has not worked out nearly as well as everyone involved, including the fans, had hoped. We have talked ad nausea about the other options available for the Braves, whether it be Tommy La Stella, Tyler Pastornicky, or Ramiro Pena. Even with all of the other capable options to at least replicate what Uggla has done with a bit of hope that they could perform better than the highly paid former slugger, the Braves gave Uggla a shot to start the year. With a month of the season already in the books and Uggla looking like an even worse version of the Uggla we have become accustomed to, when will they finally make a change?
As J.C. Bradbury points out, the Braves have become accustomed to giving guys around 150 PA before punting them for other options.
Braves normally give players 150 PAs before giving up (eg, Mondesi), but I can't see what's to be learned from giving Uggla another 50.— J.C. Bradbury (@jc_bradbury) May 2, 2014
I agree with J.C. in that there is very little for us to learn from Uggla that we have not already learned over the past number of years. When he was struggling in the past, at least he was walking and hitting for power. Now his walk rate is at just 5.0% and his ISO is .097. What is the reasoning for running him out there now? He isn't hitting for average, isn't hitting for power, isn't getting on base via the walk, and isn't playing quality defense. He has provided no value the season after the Braves opted to go with Elliot Johnson over him in the post-season.
What makes matters worse is that La Stella is producing at around the level we expect him to produce at triple-A. He has a 116 wRC+ backed by a .330/.390/.352 line. Sure, we would love to see some power there, but La Stella is a guy who controls the strike zone and should be able to produce offensively at around an average level. While his defense leaves much to be desired, he deserves an opportunity to wrestle the roll away from Uggla. Additionally, having another lefty in the lineup could be helpful as well as only two of the current regulars are left-handed batters.
The thing we need to realize is that La Stella is far from a savior at the position, but he is a guy who can be good enough to not hurt the team as Uggla is currently doing. And if he isn't, he at least deserves a shot at age-25 to show that he can stick with the big ball club.