Uggla looks to get going against former club

This picture would have looked quite odd if we had been given a sneak preview a year ago.  Yeah, most of assumed the guy on the far right would be named Bobby Cox’s successor.  But there was little reason to believe the Marlins were going to allow Braves to enter this season with this Uggla dude too.

Of course you all know the story about how this ended up proving true.   Five months after being fired by the Marlins and one month after being hired by the Braves, Fredi Gonzalez received a text from Braves GM Frank Wren, who wanted his manager’s thoughts on acquiring Uggla in exchange for Omar Infante and left-handed reliever Mike Dunn.

The deal was quickly completed once it was confirmed Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest wasn’t seeking any more than the two guys (Infante and Dunn) on the napkin he exchanged during a morning meeting of the first day of the general manager meetings.

It’s easy to assume that the Marlins will regret not getting something more in return for Uggla.  Yes, the power-hitting second baseman gave them every reason to believe they wouldn’t reach agreement on a contract extension.   But shouldn’t they have at least waited a little longer to see if they could get a greater return for a second baseman who had hit the sixth-most homers in the National League over the previous five seasons?

This is something that could be debated throughout a significant portion of the five-year, $62 million contract extension the Braves gave Uggla in January.

But as Uggla and Gonzalez get ready to meet their old team for the first time tonight at Turner Field, they’re certainly not going to be consumed by thoughts about who got the better end of the deal.  The Braves have lost five of their last six and scored two runs or fewer in six of their first 10 games.

“The beginning of every season is always tough,” said  Uggla, who is hitting .158 (6-for-58).  “You either get off to a really hot start or a slow start.  This year, so far for us it’s been either really hot or really slow.  That’s the way it goes in April and you just try to fight through it until everything levels off.”

Marlins pitchers have been happy with the defense Infante has provided at second base.  The Braves would like to see Uggla provide something more than the solid defense that he has during the early portion of this season.

Of course without that fence scraper he hit off Takashi Saito last week in Milwaukee, the Braves might be entering this series with just three victories.  Two of their four wins have been notched while scoring just two runs.

Still unless an ace and three-hole hitter has already been lost to injury, there is absolutely no reason to ever panic just 10 games into the season.    We’ve completed just six percent of this season.   Making conclusions now is as ridiculous as taking the belief that you are just a step slower than Usain Bolt because he’s just a step in front of you six meters into the 100-meter dash.

With this being said, we might be nearing a time when Gonzalez does need to tinker with his lineup.  Still, I’m sticking with my belief that he has to keep McLouth in the second spot of the lineup.   If McLouth struggles through the remainder of this homestand, then there might be a need to move him to the seventh or eighth spot.

Freddie Freeman’s slow start (6-for-32 w/ a double) has also influenced the Braves’ slow start.   Still Freeman provided some reason for optimism when he singled in his first at-bats on Friday and Saturday against Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt, respectively.

Showing he’s not fazed by the Major League scene, Freeman recorded a hit in his first career plate appearances against Roy Halladay, Lee and Oswalt.

Before wrapping this entry and heading to The Ted to see Tommy Hanson oppose Chris Volstad, I’ll leave you with this comparison of  Uggla and Infante that  Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez gave  <i>The South Florida  Sun Sentinel </i>.

“(Infante) plays hard every single day, just like Uggla did,”  fSanchez said. “Uggla was great. I loved Uggla, but I don’t feel like we lost anything going with Infante. A great two-hole guy with great contact. One of the better swings I’ve ever seen.

“Uggla didn’t take a pitch off or an inning off, and [neither] does Infante. You’re getting the same guy. Of course, they’re two different ballplayers. Dan Uggla is more of a power guy. Defensively, he was getting a lot better. You saw it in him. Infante I think is one of the better defensive second basemen in the game. Yeah, he might not hit 30 home runs, but he’s going to hit for average. He’s going to score runs, and that’s what we need.”

 

 

 

 

36 Comments

I just hope the “Braves Curse” doesn’t destroy Uggla’s career. Every super, fantastic, ultra awesome star the Braves acquire turns into a flop for them and he’s gone the following season…

Yeah, that Hudson guy has really stunk it up….. But I do see your point (Lofton, Hampton, Teixera)

Tex wasn’t a flop for Atlanta. He did exactaly what we all wanted him to do. In his 50 or so games with the Braves after the trade he knocked in over 50 runs. He was an offensive force and almost pushed the team into the playoffs.

I dont think theres a curse two of the guys were Glaus who did well but fell of near the end but I think that was just him sucking and Derek Lee who is old and past his prime and was hurt.If you look at Uggla’s numbers they are pretty low for April but jump up in May and also while he might have adjusted to the team itself adjusting to playing with a new team isnt the same.Pitchers will try to attack different lineups in different ways depending on whos in it so I think part of Uggla’s low hitting is due to the fact that hes in a new lineup and hasnt adjusted to it yet,but when he does he will help carry the team

Sheffield did well, but maybe that wasnt wholey down to pure talent.

I hope Fredi moves chipper out of the 3 hole. Mark, would Chipper be happy about this? Or is this a no-go?

Richard L – he was a flop because in the clutch in his second season he was terrible. And we gave up so much for him for under a years worth of play.

It was a terrible trade in hindsight

Again we have McLouth and Chipper at 2 and 3. This means we will probably lose.

Told you all Mark was right about McLouth, he just doubled in prado!!

Doesn’t really mean much about Mark being right, but I would love to see the look on Bills face. Considering the two players he rags on the most have RBI’s in the game.

Bill is right though. Chipper isnt a 3 hole hitter anymore, espicially with heyward around.

Order should be:
prado
chipper
heyward
uggla
mccann
a gon
freddi
mclouth
pitcher

I don’t disagree with that; I don’t think anyone has. But that’s Chippers spot, and has been for years and probably won’t change.

But why. Chipper always says his main aim is to help the side. And I believe him. SO why not move him up to 2 and bring the MVP of the team (JH) into number 3.

Brandy, what r u talking about? Check your facts son. You are really gonna pronounce McLouth cured because he ran into 1 pitch?? I guess that is the ultimate small sample size. As for the second guy I rag on most, that would probably be anti-clutch Gonzo. I guess the fact that Yuni leads all of MLB in BA and OPS, means I must have been wrong for critiquing that trade. Get your facts straight Junior. As for Zidanes comment that I said Chipper isn’t a 3 hole hitter, don’t know where that came from, I think he must have been reading someone else and thought it was my comment. The only thing I have said about lineup lately is, that it would be great having Yuni batting second so we could move McRagArm WAY DOWN IN THE LINEUP.

Yeah, I didn’t think you said that either. And no, the Escobar trade was pretty dumb. My favorite part was trading Reyes. And if you can truly read, Bill, you can see that I never said anything about McLouth being “cured.” I simply stated how hilarious it is when McLouth does well and you get all worked up like you just did, buddy.

McLouth is going to hit a home run tonight.

Wow, Uggla flashes some golve again. I notice I haven’t heard any chirping from all the naysayers that said Danny was a hamfisted 2B. And I just thought of something else. McSlouch is now Blondie and we have our wonderful Brandie, think they are related or perhaps hooking up? Nate strikes out again, shocker.

Cute. The best you can do is insinuate that I’m a homosexual? Did you get tired of being proven wrong and resort to schoolyard taunts eh? Blondie also made a great catch.

Actually wisbrave he just struck out looking in probably his last at bat

Damn Brandie, you have no sense of humor.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Sorry, just don’t find homosexual jokes funny. But with that hair and that paycheck….

Brandy the joke wasn’t about “homosexuals”, I could care less about your personal persuasion. The joke was about your love affair with a player who has been a disaster since he got to ATL.

:)

I don’t have a love affair with McLouth, I think you just whine about him too much. He had a good spring, lets wait for more than 5% of the season to want to banish him. If he’s still hitting .220 this time next month, then you can complain. Numbers are deceiving in 50 PA. He’s hitting the ball hard and still showing some range to make his arm bearable.

Mclouth had a great game today.

Bill, I gotta ask, would you rather be right and have McLouth have a lousy season? Or are you a Braves fan that actually wants the Braves to do well? It is really hard to tell at this point.

With the way Jason is hitting so far, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him a little higher in the lineup soon. Good to see Tommy has shaken off the rust.

Rother, It doesn’t matter what I want. What matters is what I see as I watch each pitch. McLouth still struggles with the same issues that have plagued him for the last 2 years. I mean how long to you drag a dead dog before you get out and cut the leash from the back bumper. I love the Braves, but it doesn’t mean i am blind to their limitations. I mean someone has to temper all that youthful exuberance when there are icebergs afloat and you are steaming at 22 knots.

BTW- Kenshin Kawakami’s struggles to find run support have followed him to the Minor League level. Kawakami lost his season debut last night as Double-A Mississippi suffered a 3-0 loss to Jacksonville. Kawakami, who is earning $6.67 million this year, allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.

I wonder how good the sushi is in Pearl, MS?

Speedy, agree with you totally, Hanson finally looked like Tommy tonite.

A lot of mindless chatter on here. My thoughts on Nate – I’m not ready to cast him off after the first week. He has definitely improved over last season and looks more comfortable at the plate. That’s not saying much though… as ANYONE can improve a season like that and still suck. A better measuring stick will obviously be 6-8 weeks. If after that amount of time we are still seeing Nate in his Mendoza form, then I think we take a serious look at the lineup. And I think Freddie G. will. Chipper would be a GREAT #2 hitter. Hits all over the field. Puts the bat on the ball. Walks a lot. He hasn’t even struck out all season. In nearly 50 plate appearances. Heyward hitting behind him at third in the order would make him even better. Pitchers are starting to fear Heyward. Right now – I’m not ready to say it’s broken… but Nate needs to get hot to keep his spot in my opinion.
And Bill – You’re right about Uggla’s defense. I’ve been VERY impressed by his style of play. He plays hard and has done a great job over there. I still like the Esky trade. Gonzalez has been brilliant defensively and he can hit too. I don’t care if Esky has had a great first week. I don’t like the way he plays the game and neither did the Braves clubhouse. He was Manny Ramirez-stupid on the field and has an incredibly low baseball IQ.

Jordan Schafer seems to have hit the ground running in Gwinnett, which should keep McLouth focused to say the least. He can hear the footsteps. By mid season, Schafer may have this resolved for all of us.

I’m with the rest of you. When I saw Hanson had 3 K’s in the first 2 innings, he looked more like himself. Now to get JJ back in the swing.

I think it was smart to keep Proctor and Mather in Gwinnett. They both have something to offer when they get back in sync. We seem to have plenty of short term solutions available as well as the prospects. The depth is going to come in handy.

So, I’ve been giving Fredi the benefit of the doubt here in his first few weeks as new manager. I personally do not like Heyward in the 6th spot and think that it is a stupid move by him. This is disputable as I am sure plenty of people have better baseball knowledge than I. However, I now have another issue with Fredi. I was at Turner Field with my 7 year old for the opening weekend against the Thillies. I just happened to pass within 5 feet of Fredi and pointed him out to my son. I said, “Hi, Fredi! We’re glad to have you back!” He turns, looks at me and my son, and turns away without the slightest aknowledgment. He totally blew me and my 7 year old kid off. I dunno, it just rubbed me the wrong way. The players were great. McCann, Hanson, Chipper were all very nice and personable and Ryan Howard even came over and signed some autographs. Fredi…first weekend in Atlanta and he lets a chance to ingratiate himself to a 7 year old turn into the opposite. Dont get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting a conversation or an invitation to dinner, but a wave or a smile go along way with the fans. Am I wrong?

It’s hard to judge a professional athlete (or coach) from a brief chance encounter. It’s not fair, give him another chance

Of course you are right. Now if he would just move Heyward up in the order…hehe

I think that will play itself out. Like I said before, if Heyward maintains his performance, he will be further up in the lineup soon. Freddie himself said the players would determine the batting lineup as the season went along by their performance.

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