Yesterday the Braves finally released Dan Uggla from their roster, likely making Braves fans very happy. As soon as the word got out, there seemed to be this almost unanimous realization that the Yankees would be interested in adding such a washed up, overpaid veteran. No seriously, go take a look for yourself. Some people were actually interested, others were being a little facetious, and still others were just being classic Yankee-bashing jerks. In the end you should know two things: Dan Uggla would not be an upgrade over Brian Roberts and Brian Cashman has no interest in giving it a try, believing he doesn't fit anywhere on the roster. Thankfully, mercifully, we don't have to worry about Dan Uggla in an already feeble lineup.
Sure, Dan Uggla used to be good, but that ship sailed long, long ago. There was a time that Uggla was considered one of the best second basemen in baseball, certainly the one with the most power, capable of hitting 30+ home runs in a season to make up for his massive amounts of strikeouts. It almost seemed like his career came undone the moment he was traded to Atlanta, having one league-average season and then quickly falling further in each consecutive year. It got so bad that the Braves actually just stopped playing him this season. He hadn't been in a game since July 8, they suspended him one game for showing up late to the stadium, and now they've simply released him. What took them so long?
In 2014 Uggla is hitting .162/.241/.231, which amounts to a .472 OPS, a 33 OPS+, and a 35 wRC+. For those of you who think he's an upgrade over Brian Roberts, I don't know what to tell you, but you must be living in some alternate reality. As much as none of us want Brian Roberts on the team, he's an All-Star by comparison with a .238/.303/.371 batting line, a .673 OPS, 87 OPS+, and an 85 wRC+. Even if you want to use the power threat excuse, Roberts has five home runs against Uggla's two and only one of these men has a sub-.300 slugging percentage and it isn't Roberts.
There are some who believe Uggla could fit into a platoon role with Roberts, though Cashman doesn't, and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for the Yankees), neither are hitting lefties well. Of course, Brian Roberts has a 74 wRC+ against them while the right-handed Uggla has an almost laughable, if it wasn't so sad, 9 wRC+. Yes, 9. Adding Uggla would be like having Alfonso Soriano back again, but this time he's blindfolded. It just doesn't make sense to even try it out, not even at the league minimum.
If you think Brian Cashman is a bad general manager, just think of the deals he didn't make. The Braves traded Omar Infante to get Uggla and then they signed him to a five-year, $62 million contract which they're still on the hook for in 2015, along with another $1 million in deferred signing bonus dispersed through 2019. That sounds like a fun time. Thankfully, the Yankees only have to deal with Roberts for one year and then he's gone. Kind of makes you appreciate Brian Roberts a little bit and that the Yankees weren't paying Soriano anything close to what the Braves are paying Uggla. Baseball is hard, and Brian Cashman knows that, so why take on a big risk, no matter who it is or used to be, when you don't have to? Thanks, Cash.