The Cincinnati Reds have opened the second half of the 2014 Major League baseball season with two straight losses during which offense continues to be at a premium. The Reds are also playing without second baseman Brandon Phillips, who is out with an injured thumb for a couple of months. So when the Atlanta Braves this week released second baseman Dan Uggla, who smacked 36 home runs as recently as three years ago, Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty may have been tempted to take a flyer, especially since Uggla can be had for the Major League minimum salary. In this case, Jocketty would be well-served to continue his inactivity and just forget all about Uggla.
As bad as the Reds’ offense has been this season, Uggla has been even worse at the plate, sporting a slash line of .162/.241/.231 in 48 games, connecting on only two homers along the way. He’s also 34 years old and has been in a fairly steep decline for four seasons, during which time he has gone from an MVP candidate to an outright pariah in the lineup. That the Braves were willing to eat the remaining $18 million+ on Uggla’s contract rather than saddle manager Fredi Gonzalez with the inflexibility created by such an albatross speaks volumes.
I would usually be all for the Reds taking a chance at some offense on the cheap, but Uggla would likely just be an albatross that would get at-bats based on name recognition rather than real performance. He’s not the right fit in Cincinnati, and we should all hope that Jocketty just looks the other way.