If the last two weeks weren't enough of an indication, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has now made it known that Dan Uggla will be a bench player moving forward.
Uggla, who is under contract through 2015 and is owed approximately $40 million in that span, is hitting about .150 since the start of July.
All of this has really put Gonzalez in a tough spot. And he's taking the approach opposite of what he would have done this time last September.
Now that it's basically guaranteed Uggla will be in Atlanta through the end of his contract, it's tough to bench him. He is the team's second-highest paid player behind only Chipper Jones, and he will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. You never like to not play someone who has produced as well as Uggla has over the years.
It's tough to disagree with moving Uggla to the bench right now, though. Despite showing signs of life in August, he still ended with a triple-slash line of .207/.324/.424 and just five home runs. Those aren't horrible numbers by any means, but it felt like he was all-or-nothing every time at the plate. And with the rest of the lineup counting on him to produce, a change does make some sense moving forward.
Similar to what Gonzalez has done these past few weeks, I'd handle the situation on a day-to-day basis. If Reed Johnson or Jose Constanza are going well and face a favorable matchup, let them make the start. If they aren't and Uggla is feeling good, go with him. It seems unlikely that the slugger would turn his season around in September, but the Braves would take anything at this point.
For more on Uggla and the Bravos, check out Talking Chop.