Braves Acquire Dan Uggla: 10 Reasons It Makes Atlanta NL East Favorites In 2011
The Florida Marlins have agreed to trade their star second baseman Dan Uggla to the Braves for infielder Omar Infante and left-handed reliever Michael Dunn, Fox Sports reported Tuesday afternoon.
Uggla, the only second baseman in history to record four, 30-home run seasons, gives the Braves that right-handed power they were desperately lacking in their hunt for the 2010 World Series.
Now, with a much more dangerous lineup and a legitimate cleanup hitter, the Braves become the favorites to win the National League East.
10. Cleanup Hitter Improvement
Brian McCann will one day be the face of the Atlanta Braves franchise.
Since his rookie season, McCann has been in charge of the janitorial duties in the Braves lineup.
Although McCann has done a decent job batting fourth, he has not been able to provide the Braves with the raw power that a cleanup hitter should possess.
McCann has never recorded more than 25 home runs or 100 RBIs in his 5 1/2 year career with Atlanta.
Uggla, on the other hand, has four consecutive 30 home run seasons and eclipsed the 100 RBI mark this past season with Florida.
9. Insurance For Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones has already expressed how much he wants to come back for the 2011 MLB season, but the question remains, "Can he come back?"
If indeed the Hall of Famer cannot return for one final tour, Martin Prado would have to once again move over to the hot corner. Before the Braves acquired Uggla, there would be a gaping hole at second base if Jones did not return.
Uggla and his enormous biceps are almost too big for that hole.
"Martin plays left field as his primary position in winter ball, though he's not playing this year," Braves GM Frank Wren said. "So we have some flexibility depending on how Chipper responds."
8. Improved Outfield
The Braves had some serious problems in their outfield last season.
Besides ROY runner-up, Jason Heyward, the outfield consisting of Eric Hinske, Matt Diaz, Melky Cabrera, and Nate McLouth provided next to nothing on offense.
With Uggla taking over at second base, and assuming Chipper Jones returns, All-Star second baseman Martin Prado will most likely take over in left field.
That leaves the only question mark in center field.
Although it may be a rather large question mark, the Braves can easily make up for it with their incredibly deep farm system and the platoon of Nate McLouth and Matt Diaz.
7. Freddie Freeman
Until the Uggla trade, Freddie Freeman was facing an entire season at first base in his first full season as an Atlanta Brave.
Now, with the arrival of the Marlins home run king, Martin Prado and Eric Hinske are freed up to platoon with the young slugger and relieve some of the pressure of a 162 game season.
There are very high expectations set for Jason Heyward's roommate and the arrival of Uggla will help Freeman meet those expectations, just like his bunk buddy.
6. Chemistry With Fredi Gonzalez
For the majority of Dan Uggla's career, he has been managed by Fredi Gonzalez, the new skipper of the Atlanta Braves.
What could make a player's transition to a new team any easier than playing for their former manager?
Dan knows Fredi and Fredi knows Dan.
It's a match made in heaven—or Miami.
5. Uggla Is a Brave Killer
Braves fans already know about Dan Uggla.
And so do the Braves pitchers.
Dan Uggla vs. Braves Starting Pitchers
v.s Tim Hudson: .357 BA / 2 HR / 7 RBIs
v.s Derek Lowe: .419 BA / 2 HR / 7 RBIs
v.s Jair Jurjens: .318 BA / 0 HR / 1 RBI
Fear not Braves pitchers, now Dan Uggla will be giving you run support, not taking you out of games.
4. It's a Steal
Let's look at what the Atlanta Braves gave up to get Uggla.
Omar Infante had a career year in 2010.
He was the first utility man ever selected to an All-Star team and he came inches from the National League batting title.
Mike Dunn, a rookie reliever with 23 innings under his belt, has serious heat, but he racked up the walks in his time as a Brave and he certainly has a lot more developing to do before he can make a serious impact in the Marlins messy bullpen.
The Braves are the winners in this trade.
Omar Infante will make a great leadoff hitter for Florida, but Dan Uggla is a young, upcoming superstar with unprecedented power and if Atlanta signs him to a long-term deal, they will not regret this trade.
3. Turner Field
Dan Uggla is a resident of Nashville, Tennessee (Braves Country) and he loves to visit Turner Field.
Uggla is a .354/.399/.652 career hitter at Atlanta's home stadium, with 12 home runs in 181 at-bats.
Turner Field has a reputation for being a hitter's ballpark and Uggla has been victimizing pitchers there for the past five years.
Hopefully for the Braves' sake that trend will continue.
2. Uggla V.S Howard
Let's face it, the only true contenders for the NL East in 2011 are the Phillies and the Braves.
One of the main reasons that Philly has been able to dominate Atlanta for the past five years is Ryan Howard.
Ryan Howard is a superstar slugger.
He is a lock to get over 100 RBIs and 30 homers every year and he is capable of carrying a team on his back for an entire season.
The Braves haven't had that type of player since the glory days when Chipper Jones was the talk of the country.
Dan Uggla was already on his way to super-stardom, but it is hard to reach that point when you are on a losing team.
Now, he has a chance to carry a team to—and through—the playoffs.
Both players are around 30 HR/100 RBI year after year, but while Howard has been on the decline Uggla has been improving.
1. The Lineup
Here is a lineup that will make opponents cower in fear.
1. Martin Prado LF
2. Jason Heyward RF
3. Chipper Jones 3B
4. Dan Uggla 2B
5. Brian McCann C
6. Freddie Freeman 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez SS
8. Matt Diaz CF
Dan Uggla makes the Braves starting lineup the most dangerous lineup in the National League East.
Now that Atlanta has found it's superstar, they become a powerhouse in the National League and a favorite to win the 2011 World Series.