Ok, the Braves just gave a 31 year old a five year deal for 62 million. He ain't no Bill Mazeroski playing second. There's a long list of really good players who dropped off the face of the planet at around 33-34 years of age. We don't have the payroll to be able to absorb a large contract like this for a player who bombs. All are fine arguments for why this could be the biggest mistake of Frank Wren's life and will end up destroying the franchise.
Most of the worrying has been about adding that 5th year to the contract. To put it in perspective here's a few pros for the signing:
Locking down Uggla right now means there is absolutely no contract distraction for Dan in the 2011 season. If the Braves want to go back to the playoffs this year, they need a happy and productive Dan anchoring that cleanup spot.
We're still paying less than half the money that Boston and Washington paid for Crawford and Werth. Werth is older than Uggla by the way and got two more guaranteed years.
Adrian Beltre just got a 5 year 80 million dollar contract with the Rangers. Yep, Adrian's older too.
Adam Dunn just got 4 years for 56 million from the White Sox. Same age, can hit better but can't defend a lick.
If you look at the deal as if the Braves paid him 10 million in arbitration and then gave him a 4 year extension for 52 million it looks like a pretty decent contract for a slugging defensively challenged middle of the order player in his early 30's.
If Dan Uggla craps the bed in 2014 or 2015, we'll deal with it then. For Pete's sake, we just made the motherlovin' playoffs with a hurt Chipper, a completely useless McLouth and an exiled Kawakami chewing up a quarter of the payroll. And that's not even mentioning Derek Lowe.
Here's a few more pros for the whole deal:
The Braves absolutely stole Uggla from the Marlins because Jeffrey Loria is a whiny bitch.
The Braves have been desperate for a right handed legitimate cleanup hitter since Andruw Jones' biological clock struck midnight and he turned into a pumpkin.
Dan Uggla is a legitimate 30 home run hitter, something which the Braves has not had since Tex left.
Dan's offensive stats would have led the team in just about every category in 2010.
Dan Uggla is an average second baseman whose stats may have been harmed by the dreadful conditions at the Florida stadium.
Dan has a great work ethic and has worked his ass off to become an All-Star second baseman since being picked up in the Rule V draft.
Brian McCann now has his first true bromance since Frenchy left.
The Braves may have already had an All-Star second baseman in Martin Prado, but while Dan is replacing Martin at second, Martin is replacing Melky in left. Talk about an upgrade.
Dan Uggla will no longer kick our asses up and down Hank Aaron drive as a member of the Marlins.
Is there stuff to worry about? Sure. Ownership/Payroll is still uncertain. Injury worries abound. No more steroids means no more aging gracefully in the majors. Dan could end up with an age 36 year like Jim Rice, or - God forbid - an age 31 year like Andruw Jones. Atlanta fans are amongst the most shell-shocked fan bases around, in the top 5 behind the likes of Cleveland and Buffalo fans, so there's lots to worry about and very often the worries come true.
So what? We just got Dan Uggla to anchor the lineup! Let's just enjoy the warm glow of a happy, locked up cleanup slugger for a little while and wait until some actual games are played before criticizing a real big-boy market move for this franchise. Frankly if the Braves hadn't made this deal, I'd be more worried that the uninterested ownership would squeeze the payroll again in 2012 to the point where we once again couldn't afford to offer arbitration to a Type A free agent resulting in Dan walking with no draft pick compensation. Probably to the Mets or Nationals, with our luck. Lock Dan up, let him loose and let's play ball.