There’s been a lot of hostility directed Tony La Russa’s way for all of the NL All-Star snubs this week. Really, though, it’s the fans as a whole that made things more difficult than they needed to be by voting Dan Uggla, Rafael Furcal and Pablo Sandoval into the starting lineup.
The Braves tonight dropped the slumping Uggla down to the seventh spot in their lineup. He hit .160 in June and is off to a 1-for-16 start in July. Overall, he’s at .225/.355/.394 for the season.
In defense of the fans, Uggla probably was the NL’s most productive second baseman through the first two months of the season, and many ballots were cast in May. However, even though Uggla was outhitting Brandon Phillips and Aaron Hill, he was still a worse player overall after factoring in defense and baserunning.
The move to drop Uggla to the seventh spot comes nearly a year to the day after he broke out of his career-worst slump. Uggla was hitting .173 on July 4 last season. On July 5, he went 2-for-2 with a homer in kicking off a 33-game hitting streak.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.