The Giants have signed former Brave Dan Uggla to a minor league contract. Brian Sabean has struck again with what seems like the most “Sabeany” type of move possible, giving a former good player who is on the downside of his career one more shot to rekindle the magic.
Uggla joins a club highlighted by Pat Burrell that also includes Jeff Francoeur, Orlando Cabrera, Ryan Klesko, Jose Guillen, Miguel Tejada …
After signing a big extension in 2011, Uggla’s career has taken a nosedive with declining power and increased problems making contact. The deal with the Giants gets him the prorated veteran’s minimum and a plane ticket to join up with Fresno. His contract allows him to become a free agent if he’s not with the big league club by Aug. 1. Essentially the Giants are giving him a 10-day tryout to see what he still has left in the tank.
The signing signals that the Giants aren’t optimistic about the current second basemen on the roster. It has been nearly two years since Uggla has been a player worthy of an everyday role, but with Giants second basemen hitting a combined .184/.274/.295, it’s not like the bar was all that high. Plus, there is always the Burrell precedent … because even though it’s highly improbable, I guess it’s possible to win the bad-player-becoming-good-once-again lottery twice within four years.
It is easy to say that this is a low-risk deal, which is true. Maybe the Giants give him a shot, he continues playing poorly, and the team loses some games. However, you could say the same thing with the current guys on the roster.
The real worst-case scenario is this: he shows flashes of something in AAA, the Giants bring him up and rest their hopes on Uggla giving the team a jolt, then the trade deadline passes with nothing happening while Uggla continues to hit poorly while playing bad defense.
The Giants are not a bad team, but they do have some serious flaws. Second base is a glaring one, with starting pitching looking like another major one opening up with Matt Cain heading to the disabled list today with an elbow injury. Uggla isn’t likely to be the answer to the problem but it’s a free lottery ticket the Giants found on the ground.