Dan Uggla no longer being on the Braves roster will make the 2014 Braves better.
Yup, that is the hard hitting analysis Talking Chop is known for.
This was a move a long time coming and it is bizarre that it took as long as it did. As Buster Olney noted on twitter, over the past 74 days Uggla has 33 plate appearances for the Braves. After Uggla was benched he became a living paperweight on the edge of the Braves bench. He was like some sort of Make-A-Wish winner who got to hang out with the Braves and travel on roadtrips with the team. He was there for hugs and hi-fives but wasn't qualified to pinch hit, pinch run, or be a defensive replacement. He needed to go and it was negligent of the Braves front office to keep him around as long as they did.
The Braves have announced that Tyler Pastornicky is the guy getting called up to fill Uggla's spot. I don't particularly like this move because Pastornicky has never hit in MLB, and hasn't hit that well in Gwinnett this year either. Yes, he has a pedigree as a prospect, can run well, and can be competent defensively at second base. He wouldn't be my choice, but he would provide some value and be an upgrade. Uggla set the bar very low for whomever his successor would be. I do see Pastornicky as a player with some limited trade value still left. He could be the piece that snags Atlanta an upgrade over Luis Avilan in the bullpen. He will be fine as an upgrade to Uggla but I would prefer he not fill that spot for too long.
Of the internal options, Phil Gossellin is my recommendation to fill Uggla's spot. Gossellin is a good defensive infielder, who can play second and third base well, and can fake shortstop in an emergency situation. Gossellin has had a big offensive season at Gwinnett though prior to this year he never projected as much of an offensive force in the majors. Though of course Uggla and his 35 wRC+ this season set the bar so low it is impossible Gossellin won't be an offensive upgrade for the Braves.
The problem with Gossellin is he was sent back down to Gwinnett after he was called up to fill a roster spot on the Braves for the last game before the All-Star break. Gossellin was called up to fill Uggla's roster spot for one day when Uggla was suspended. After that one game Gossellin was sent back to AAA. MLB rules do not allow for players to be recalled from AAA, after being sent down until a ten day waiting period is over unless there is an injury situation. This means that Gossellin cannot be recalled until that ten day period is over. This may be why the Braves have chosen Pastornicky to fill Uggla's spot. Pastornicky may only be there until Gossellin is eligible to come back up. Or it may be because the Braves rate Pastornicky more highly than Gossellin. If Gossellin is the Braves choice to fill the 25th spot on the roster but they have to wait to recall him, than this is just another example of how badly the Braves have managed the Uggla situation in 2014.
No matter what move the Braves make it will be very difficult for it not to make the Braves better. Uggla is at this point possibly the worst player in Major League Baseball and neither Pastornicky or Gossellin will be that.
Dan Uggla had some good moments for the Braves such as his franchise record hitting streak, and that first half of 2012 when he had an excellent on-base percentage. One of the first things I ever wrote as a blogger was an article defending Uggla and saying he has value. Once upon a time, Dan Uggla walked at one of the highest rates in baseball, hit more homers than you would expect from a second baseman, and was an excellent baserunner. I don't know the man personally but he always seemed to be well liked.
At the end of the day, Uggla is still going to get every penny of the 18 million dollars the Braves still owe him. I think I speak for many Braves fans when I wish him luck in the future. But his time had run its course in Atlanta. It wasn't doing Uggla or the team any good to carry Uggla on the end of the bench like some sort of charity case. The Braves are now better and if Uggla manages to catch on somewhere it will be a fresh chance for him to salvage his MLB career. I can't say I will miss Uggla but I don't hold any ill will towards him. Today, is a good day for everyone involved.
Now cut Schafer next please.