6 Options for the Atlanta Braves to Replace Dan Uggla in the Offseason
In his two seasons in Atlanta, Uggla is batting .223 with 53 home runs and 146 RBI, while 36 of those 53 jacks came last year. This year, he's batting a career worst .203 with only 17 home runs, and he has struck out 150 times.
While the threat of his power is a nice thing to have in the lineup, it's almost not worth it considering he's not hitting if he's not blasting the ball over the wall.
For Atlanta's sake, it's time for Uggla to go and the Braves to make a change.
Hopefully, general manager Frank Wren can package him with a starting pitcher and bring in a third baseman or left fielder.
We might have already seen the rumblings of that happening with the recent benching of the second baseman by manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Here's a look at six options the Braves could look at in replacing Uggla at second base for next season.
Some of the moves will involve Martin Prado taking over second base, while others will have him going to third as planned. All of these moves hinge upon Uggla being moved himself in the offseason.
Move Prado to Second, Have Juan Francisco Man Third
When the Braves traded for Uggla, Martin Prado was the starting second baseman. After the move, Prado moved to left field.
By moving Prado to second instead of making him Chipper Jones' heir at third, it will give you confidence in your second baseman at the plate.
The person to man third would then be Juan Francisco, who has some decent power.
Francisco is batting .249 with nine home runs and 29 RBI this year. While the average is lower than fans want, I believe that with more consistent at-bats, Francisco will boost his average by 10 points.
While his defense is not like that of Jones, Francisco has shown promise at third. With more time manning the bag, his fielding percentage should get better as well.
Move Prado to Second, Sign Kevin Youkilis
When the Braves signed Uggla, they thought they were getting a right-handed power bat.
In Kevin Youkilis, the Braves would get a right-handed power bat that is also a leader on and off the field.
In his six previous seasons with Boston, Youkilis averaged 20 home runs and 84 RBI. While this year has been a slow go, Youkilis is still a great hitter and can bring a lot to the Braves.
Plus, let's not forget how much he was loved in Boston. The Atlanta fans would love him just as much.
Move Prado to Second, Sign Scott Rolen to Fill the Gap
Scott Rolen would be a nice gap-filler for the Braves next season.
Rolen has had injury concerns over the last two years, but the Braves should be used to that with Jones. That will allow Francisco to get time at third base as well, preparing the way for the future of the Braves at third base.
Joe Terdoslavich was once considered the Braves third baseman of the future.
While he struggled at Triple-A Gwinnett this year, Terdoslavich has been great at Double-A Mississippi. This year, Terdoslavich is batting .315 with five home runs and 51 RBI at Mississippi.
He still needs a little more seasoning in the minor leagues, but Terdoslavich will be able to man the hot corner one day for the Braves.
Rolen would be a nice gap-filler as the Braves wait for Terdoslavich to come into his own.
Sign Kelly Johnson at Second
Kelly Johnson was once a Brave, and he is a free agent this year.
With Uggla struggling at second, Johnson would be someone who knows Atlanta and could have success at that position.
Currently with the Toronto Blue Jays, Johnson is batting .226 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI. While he is struggling as well at the plate, I credit that to playing the American League East.
When he played with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Johnson batted .252 with 44 home runs and 120 RBI in less than two seasons.
He's shown he can hit in the National League. Bringing him back to the NL and with the Braves would give the Braves a solid option at second base. Plus, in his six seasons at second base, Johnson has a .981 fielding percentage.
Re-Acquire Omar Infante
Before Prado, there was Omar Infante who was the Braves' super-utility player.
Currently with the Detroit Tigers and signed through the 2013 season, Infante is someone the Braves should pursue in a trade.
With Ryan Raburn sitting behind Infante trying to retake the starting position, the Tigers will definitely be open to trading him, hoping to get a decent return.
Infante is familiar with Atlanta and would find success again.
Plus, how awesome would it be to have two super-utility guys in your starting lineup? I don't know of any team that could match that.
Trade for Jose Altuve
Some may say Jose Altuve is untouchable for the Houston Astros. Is any player really untouchable?
Altuve is hitting .291 with five home runs, 33 RBI and 27 stolen bases this year. He would be a nice piece at the top of the lineup, especially if Michael Bourn leaves via free agency.
For the right price, Altuve can be had by the Braves as the Astros are in extreme rebuilding mode.
I'm thinking something like Uggla, one of the young pitchers not named Kris Medlen or Julio Teheran, and another prospect might do the trick.
While some may think that's a hefty price to pay, I beg to differ. Sometimes it costs you more to get the right piece for your team. Altuve would be that right piece.