Sunday, August 18, 2013

Is Uribe playing himself into a new contract?

Here's a statement I never, EVER thought I'd make: Juan Uribe could be earning himself a new contract with the Dodgers.

Yes, that's how much he's turned around his career this season with the Dodgers.  After spending two years looking like one of the worst free agent signings in franchise history, his three-run shot on Saturday night against the Phillies was another reminder of how good he's been this year.

In 98 games this season, Uribe is hitting .275 with 15 doubles, 7 homers, and 35 RBIs.  Heck, he's even thrown in three stolen bases.

I can't even begin to accurately describe to you just how much better he is this year compared to the last two.  In 2010, he hit .204.  Last season, it dipped even worse to .191.  He had a combined six homers and 45 RBIs.  He was lost, awful, and pretty much a complete waste of space on a lineup card.

For one reason or another, the Dodgers and Ned Colletti have stuck with him, and his numbers have reflected their confidence (which was foolishness for a long time, by the way).  What makes him even more valuable to the team?  His fielding % is .985, which is second in the National League to Placido Polanco.  He's only committed three errors in 183 total chances.  Time and time again, he's made tough plays at the hot corner look routine.

And for all of those reasons above, the Dodgers may have to do something they probably considered unthinkable for the past two years: sign Uribe to a new contract.

Something else that is very much on Uribe's side is the list of free agent third baseman after this season.  Simply put, it's nothing special at all.  According to, the only names that I would consider somewhat appealing are Michael Young, Kevin Youkalis, Mark Reynolds, and Polanco.  Even those names are either old, injured, or just not very good anymore.

You can tell that Uribe is a favorite among the boys on the team.  Plus, he's taken over a mentor-type role for Yasiel Puig, something that can't be easy to do.  I'm sure his teammates have seen how hard he's worked to get back to the level he's at this season, and it's appreciated and respected.  Considering the Dodgers are in the thick of a historic 42-8 run, the hard work is rubbing off on everybody.

So yes, Dodger fans, if Uribe finishes the season strong, and is his usual solid self in the postseason (which is how he got a three-year, $21 million contract in the first place), then get ready to see him sign a new contract for next season.  And you know what?  He'll finally have earned it.

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