I do not think the Atlanta Braves pictured this situation when they signed B.J. Upton last off-season. The Atlanta outfielder, who signed a five year deal with the Braves for 75.25 million dollars, is not going to start for his team as the National League Division Series kicks off tonight in Atlanta against the West division champion Los Angeles Dodgers and game one starter, Clayton Kershaw. Upton, who has had a miserable first season with his new team, is going to be watching game one on the bench.
Of course it could be a lot worse, Upton could be like his fellow teammate, Dan Uggla. The former All-Star second baseman is being left off the roster completely for the Division Series by the Braves due to what is considered a bad stretch for Uggla and to have more versatile options on the bench. Uggla, like Upton, is another high salaried player, making 13 million this year.
Atlanta manager, Fredi Gonzalez’s decision to leave Uggla off the roster, came from seeing some really bad numbers throughout the season. Uggla’s .179 battling average is the worst for any starting second baseman with over 400 at bats. Uggla, also never known for his defense, was a liability at the plate and on the field. He’s still owed 13 million next season, his final year in his current contract.
For Upton, his defense is still strong and he has speed and power, but his batting average, at .184. If not for the talents of the Braves’ other players, including Justin Upton, B.J.’s younger brother, the Braves would not be in this situation. What this tells you is that no matter how much money you pay a guy, you never really know what you get until you get it. Time will tell if these moves will pay off as Uggla will hope for another chance on the roster if his team can get past Los Angeles and Upton hopes to redeem himself when he does see some action.