Jun 7, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Atlanta Braves second basemanDan Uggla
against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Nationals added some depth to their infield Friday, signing second baseman Dan Uggla to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Uggla, 34, has hit .243 with 244 home runs in parts of nine seasons with the Marlins, Braves and Giants in his career. Uggla’s best season came with the Marlins in 2010, when he hit .287 with 33 home runs and 105 RBIs. The infielder made the NL All-Star team in 2006, 2008 and 2012.
Once considered one of the best-hitting second basemen in the game, Uggla’s career has taken a turn for the worst in recent years.
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The infielder’s production has dropped steadily since his All-Star campaign in 2012 and hit rock bottom last season, when he posted a miserable .149/.229/.213 line with 46 strikeouts in just 52 big league games with Atlanta and San Francisco.
The Nationals have been looking for a second baseman all offseason to replace Asdrubal Cabrera, who is currently a free agent. If the team is unable to acquire a second baseman, Uggla will likely compete with Danny Espinosa and Kevin Frandsen for the spot during spring training.
Given Uggla’s decline in recent years, however, it’s unlikely that he’ll make the opening day roster. Nevertheless, signing Uggla provides the Nationals with another option to fill their hole at second base.