First of all…I apologize. I’ve been M.I.A. for a while, traveling to and within the exotic land known as Florida. I’m now on East Coast time, making home Dodger games a bit more sleepy to watch. But nonetheless, I’ve pushed on. And I’m back to impart some wisdom on a curse that has plagued our Dodgers since the beginning of last year: Juan Uribe.
Let’s disregard yesterday’s fine all-around performance by the Dodgers. You know it’s going to be a bad day when Matt Kemp misplays a fly ball and Jordan Schaefer of all people hits a grand slam against you. Aside from that mess, let’s look at the team’s first 15 games. And one position in particular; third base.
We are all familiar with my distaste for one particular player on our team. If you must search for some reason besides pure statistics, call it “leftover rage” from 2010 when he helped the Giants win the World Series.
That season, Juan Uribe went absolutely nuts, hitting 24 home runs and racking up a .750 OPS. That performance was enough for Ned Colletti to foolishly throw $21 million over three years at the out of shape, free-swinging, defensively-liable veteran…career stats be damned.
And now, we are reaping the benefits of a player with a career .297 on-base percentage starting as our third baseman and making us wish the unthinkable: That Casey Blake come back. Not since Adrian Beltre departed have we had such a gaping hole at the hot corner. In his first season in Dodger Blue last year, Uribe hit four home runs and made contact with the ball about as many times as Clayton Kershaw had wins.
Was there really anyone in the world who thought signing Uribe to a contract (let alone a relatively expensive one), not named Colletti, was a good idea? Consider this reason number 54 that the General Manager must have a new face in L.A. as soon as possible.
Anyway, many fans like me have pleaded for a change. Justin Sellers? Josh Fields? Well, you could buy the former’s batting average at a Dollar Tree store, and the latter is just chillin’ like a villain in Triple-A right now.
Yet, mercifully, out of the rubble has risen an unlikely hero who has played his way into favor when given the start at third base so far this year: Jerry Hairston, Jr. He’s a somewhat surprising journeyman, considering his fairly consistent bat and ability to play all over the diamond.
In the past few games, starting for an injured Uribe at third (Rumor has it that Juan was in L.A. getting his eyes examined…the powers that be decided the only explanation for such a god-awful swing and disgusting plate discipline was just plain blindness. Unfortunately, he checked out. He really is just that bad.), Hairston, Jr. has not only made a few incredible defensive plays, but he’s been putting the bat on the ball.
Hairston, Jr. even stole a base, something Uribe can only dream of. And I know I shouldn’t go back to yesterday’s crap show of a game, but all Uribe did was make an error on one of the first ground balls hit his way. Welcome back.
Based on Uribe’s stats, compared to Hairston, Jr.’s, there is no good reason why the Dodgers’ brass continues to put its faith in an overweight, overconfident, overrated third baseman to hit 20 home runs again. It’s just not going to happen. Eat the contract, cut or trade Uribe, and move on.
Jerry Hairston, Jr. has done more than enough to earn that starting gig and some respect while we’re at it. I promise the team will be better off.
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