ATLANTA — The Braves locked up Dan Uggla with the team's largest contract in nearly a decade. Now, they're ready to take on the mighty Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East.
Uggla completed a $62 million, five-year contract with Atlanta on Thursday, passing up the chance to perhaps earn a more lucrative deal in free agency after the 2011 season.
"This team is ready to win right now," he said. "The core group is going to be here a long time. We have the pieces in place to win for a long time."
Indeed, the Braves have addressed their major offseason need, adding a right-handed power hitter to a lineup that includes lefties Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and the new starting first baseman, rookie Freddie Freeman. Uggla, acquired from Florida in a November trade, has averaged 31 homers, 100 runs scored and 93 RBIs over his five-year career.
Uggla receives a $1 million signing bonus, $9 million this year and $13 million in each of the following four seasons.
His contract is Atlanta's largest total payout since Andruw Jones signed a six-year, $75 million deal after the 2001 season, signaling a commitment to keep up with a Phillies team that made the biggest splash of the winter by signing Cliff Lee to a $120 million deal.