The Atlanta Braves have parted ways with second baseman Dan Uggla. Following a one game suspension the day before the All-Star break, MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal reports that the Atlanta Braves are releasing Dan Uggla as the second half of the season begins. Atlanta will still owe him through the end of the 2015 season.
Since May 25, Uggla has made just two starts for the Braves while garnering just a handful of pinch-hit opportunities per month. Over the past year and a half, Uggla has hit below .200 while earning over $20 million. Atlanta has kept Uggla on the roster this long in hopes of trading the inflated salary. It's not surprising that a team hasn't shown an interest in acquiring him. Uggla's replacement at second base, Tommy La Stella, has played well and fits into the Braves offensive scheme
The Uggla release will allow Phil Gosselin to stay on the major league roster for now. Gosselin came up Sunday after Uggla was suspended for being late to the field in Chicago. The Braves will give Gosselin a chance to compete for the starting spot at second.
As the division race heats up, there are other things to look forward to in Atlanta. The slugging catcher Evan Gattis is rehabbing in AAA and should be back with the Braves by sometime next week. This will help bolster Atlanta's offense going forward. There are also trade rumors swirling in Braves' country as Atlanta makes a push to pass the first place Washington Nationals in the National League East. With Luis Avilan struggling in recent weeks, Andrew Miller of the Boston Red Sox is looking more like a reality as the lefty would help add depth to the bullpen. Johnny Venters is also rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and the time table for his return is still in doubt. If, as expected. Boston does part ways with Miller, Jake Peavy or Jon Lester could be a part of that deal if the asking price is right. Lester is in the final year of his contract and negotiations have stalled. If there isn't a trade, Lester could still re-sign with the Red Sox in the off-season.
Atlanta could also look for second base depth. Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays has been rumored in many trade talks. The Braves could go after just Zobrist or could possibly tie David Price into a deal as well. Second-baseman Chase Utley and reliever John Papelbon have also been rumored to be moved by the Philadelphia Phillies. Both would be great fits but history shows that division rivals rarely trade amongst each other. The MLB trading deadline is about two weeks away and many rumors will continue to keep all of Atlanta on notice. One thing is for sure, Dan Uggla's release is just the first shot fired.