Saturday, December 14, 2013

Welcome back, Juan Uribe

*** UPDATE ***

The deal is for two years and $15 million, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.


After floating the idea out there that Michael Young could be the Dodgers' starting third baseman in 2014, Ned Colletti was able to convince Juan Uribe to stick around after all.

Uribe has agreed to stay in LA by signing a two-year deal, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The money is not known yet, but is probably in the $10-15 million range, as best I can guess.

The picture above is a huge reason why Uribe was able to get something more than just a one-year deal with maybe an option for another, as his NLDS-winning two-run run to beat the Braves will go down as one of the biggest moments in Dodgers' postseason history.  That hit was the culmination of a complete turnaround from where he was after the previous two seasons.

And what a turnaround it was.  After winning a World Series ring with the Giants in 2010, he signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Dodgers.  In 2011, he played in 77 games and hit .204 with 4 homers and 28 RBIs.  The following year he played in 66 games, hitting an even more pathetic .191 with 2 homers and 17 RBIs.

Yet, there he was on the 2013 Opening Day roster at third base, albeit as a backup to Luis Cruz.  Thanks in large part to Cruz's own incompetence, Uribe slowly got more starts, and ended up playing in 132 games, hitting .278 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs.  He also was fantastic at the hot corner, becoming one of the three finalists for Gold Glove that ended up going to the Rockies' Nolan Arenado.

During the latter part of the season, I wrote about how Uribe probably earned himself a new deal thanks in large part to his good season, and because the free agent market for third basemen was so pitiful (check out my article here).  There was a thought that the Dodgers would chase after current shortstop and World Series champion Stephen Drew and push Hanley Ramirez to third.  Then there was the recent talk of putting Young at third, which seemed like a pretty desperate solution.

Now that Uribe is back for the next two seasons, the Dodgers obviously have to hope that he doesn't repeat the first couple of season from his old deal.  It's hard to name a worse player in all of baseball than him from that time, or at least one who received as much playing time as him.  He was slow, old, out-of-shape, and had a look on his face that suggested he was completely lost.  I couldn't wait for him to leave town.

Then 2013 hit, and when the other options weren't there, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm happy Colletti was able to convince him to stay with a reasonable deal.  One year with an option would have been better, but two years isn't a big commitment in the grand scheme of things (Uribe reportedly wanted a three-year deal to start the offseason).  For Uribe, the motivation will be to prove that he's not simply another "contract year" player who rose to the occasion, got the money, then tanked again.

Colletti can now shift his focus on adding to the bullpen and his bench... and who knows, maybe a trade of one of his outfielders?  We'll see.

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