While batting .145 in 159 at bats, B.J. Upton needs to fix his slump before the Braves consider sending him to the minors (Credit: AP Photo)
This past off-season, the Atlanta Braves gave B.J. Upton the largest contract in franchise history with a five year, $75.25 million contract. So far this season, B.J. Upton has been nothing but a disappointment as he is batting .145 with 8 RBIs and 4 HRs in 159 at bats. With the struggles of B.J. Upton, the Braves have to figure out how to fix his problems.
One option is to send Upton to the minors for a few weeks. Unfortunately, Upton has been in the majors long enough that he has the option of refusing to be sent to the minors. Braves head coach Fredi Gonzalez admits sending Upton to the minors might not be easy.
“In my own mind, you think about those things, but really I haven’t gotten to that point,” Gonzalez said. “I think there’s some logistics — contractual things and that sort of stuff — that they might not be able to do it that easy.”
Despite not discussing the possibility of sending him to the minors, Gonzalez has spoken to Upton about his recent absence from the Braves starting lineup.
“He understands to a certain point,” Gonzalez said. “Like good players do, they want to play. We’ve had conversations and he’s making the adjustments and we’ll see.”
Heading into last night’s game against the Washington Nationals, Upton had been hitless in seven straight games. Upton was out of the starting lineup against the Nationals last night and struck out in his only at bat as a pinch hitter.
Gonzalez admitted that the possibility of sending Upton to the minors will be a hard decision.
“It’s a hard decision,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a decision that you take very, very seriously. You talk collectively with your coaches about it, and it’s something always falls on my shoulders, right? That’s fine. I’m comfortable with that. But you’ve got to think about 25 (players), six staff members, four clubhouse guys, the front office and the fans.”
The Braves have to figure out how to solve Upton’s slump before he hurts their offense too much and they get passed by the second place Nationals.
As a Braves fan, I wouldn’t mind seeing Upton sent to the minors for a week to work on his struggles. When you consider the fact that the team already has two other players batting under .200 in Heyward and Uggla, the team cannot have one more player batting under .200 for the entire season.
With players like Evan Gattis off to a hot start, it is hard to watch players who can’t hit receiving starting time over Gattis.
Hopefully Upton can return his former self and help lead this team to an NL East crown.