Dan Uggla didn’t have to wait long to get a new job after the Atlanta Braves released him on Friday. The 34-year-old veteran signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants on Monday and the team assigned him to Triple-A Fresno.
Some believed that Uggla was done at least for this season after his behavior and performance with the Braves deteriorated to the point that they were willing to release him. That came despite the fact that Atlanta will still be forced to pay the $19 million left on his contract. Uggla’s deal with the Giants comes with an August 1 opt-out clause.
How bad did things get in Atlanta for the former All-Star? This season he was hitting just .162, with a .241 on-base percentage and a .231 slugging percentage. He also had 40 strikeouts in 145 plate appearances. Uggla only made things worse for himself by showing up late to the second-to-last game of the first half, resulting in a one-game suspension and then his release.
Since signing a five-year, $62 million contract with the Braves in 2011, Uggla has been quite possibly the biggest bust in Major League Baseball. In 499 games during his tenure in Atlanta, Uggla boasts a .209 batting average, with 535 strikeouts in 1,701 at-bats. He has 79 home runs, 225 RBIs and an OPS of just .708.
In the past two seasons, Uggla’s WAR has been a combined -2.3. In 2013 he played in 136 games, hit .179 and struck out 171 times. He struggled so badly that he was left off the team’s postseason roster. So yeah, Uggla’s four years in Atlanta were absolutely brutal.
The Giants are taking a no-risk gamble on a former All-Star, in the hope that he can help them in their push for a National League West title. Odds are that Uggla won’t be able to do that, but for a team struggling offensively the way San Francisco is, he’s worth the gamble.