We are upon the second day of the GM Winter Meetings, and it sure has been interesting thus far. The Dodgers have yet to make any moves, but they have been in the mix of many big rumors. Will Matt Kemp be traded to Seattle? Will Andre Ethier be moved to Baltimore? Will the Dodgers bring back veteran long-man/mop-up guy Jamey Wright? Will the Dodgers make a big splash by trading some of their few top prospects for David Price? There’s been plenty of buzz going down, but that doesn’t mean anything will actually happen. Ned Colletti has one BIG hole to fill this offseason: third base.
The Dodgers and White Sox (and also Miami) have been reportedly been pushing hard to sign Juan Uribe. Uribe, who hit the number one homerun for the Dodgers in 2013 on my countdown, is looking for a multi-year deal. You can’t blame him, but the question of whether the Dodgers want to go down that three-year road again seems murky. Reportedly the Dodgers offered Uribe a one-year deal with an option for a second year, but the White Sox offered him a two-year contract. Uribe doesn’t want to come back on a one-year deal, so can the Dodgers and the defensively brilliant Dominican come to an agreement? If Uribe should sign elsewhere, the Dodgers would have to most likely trade for a third baseman making this offseason more complicated.
The Dodgers still have a lot of work to be done this winter including finding another gritty utility guy who can play shortstop in order to replace Nick Punto. They need to sign a couple more relievers, and they need to fill out the bench. While bench guys are important, the hot corner is even more integral to the Dodgers 2014 roster. With Hanley Ramirez slated to remain at shortstop and Alexander Guerrero presumptuously slotted at second, Juan Uribe could shore up the infield. The Dodgers don’t need to sign another starting pitcher. The Dodgers don’t need to trade away any of their outfielders. The Dodgers do need to figure out who will man third base.
When I asked Ned Colletti about Juan Uribe on Blogger Night at Dodger Stadium last season, the GM
gushed about him. Colletti said that he thought Uribe was one of the best defensive third baseman in the league. After talking with Colletti, I felt pretty confident that he would like to re-sign him for 2014. Everyone loves Uribe. Josh Tucker, the Dodgers social media coordinator, also spoke highly of Uribe. He said that Uribe was one of his favorite players, and he is loved in the clubhouse.
Corey Seager, if not traded, will be ready in about two years. The youngest player in the Cal League last season, Seager may be on the Dodgers by late 2015/early 2016 in my opinion. If the Dodgers can sign Uribe to a two-year deal that could bridge the gap until Seager is ready. Perhaps a two-year contract with a third year option wouldn’t be out of the question for Uribe.
Uribe’s first two seasons with the Dodgers were disastrous, no doubt. He was battling a sports hernia and other injuries. He worked hard in the offseason to regain his form, and we finally were able to see the 2010 championship level Uribe last season. He went from the butt of many jokes and pokes by Dodger fans after those first two years to a fan favorite very quickly. Although signing a two to three-year deal seems risky, there really is few choices for third baseman available right now.
The Dodgers need to sign Uribe before some other team does. If Uribe moves on from the Dodgers, there will be a gigantic black hole at third base to fill. Another black hole would also be left in the clubhouse and dugout where Uribe and Hanley often joked around and fired up a friendship. Team chemistry is something that can’t be bought (I learned that from Brandon Belt), and the Dodgers had some of the best camaraderie of any Dodger team I have seen last year.
Re-sign Juan Uribe! Jazz hands!