There was an awful bad taste in my mouth as rumors flied regarding the possibility of the Dodgers signing Michael Young to be their everyday third baseman. This torturous speculative nonsense was quite disturbing, and thankfully it didn’t happen. That’s because Juan Uribe is coming back on a two-year deal! The new deal with Uribe has yet to be officially announced yet, but it is reportedly for two years and $15 million. Phew, no Michael Young. Well, no Michael Young as a starter anyways. The veteran may be signed as a bench piece still, but we can cross that bridge when it comes.
Two years for Uribe is perfect since it will be just the right amount of time to allow Corey Seager to be ready, and it will shore up the left side of the infield with exceptional defense which Uribe brings with his glove. While some may say that two or three years for Uribe is too long, I think this deal was integral for the Dodgers this offseason. Third base is, you know, pretty important. While Ned Colletti can always find a couple of bench players or relievers, which he is currently shopping for, third base was one position where there were hardly any viable free agent options or internal choices. It was either Uribe, Michael Young, moving Hanley Ramirez over, or a veritable black hole.
I’m not sure how many Uribe posts I’ve written over the past three years, but watching his phoenix from the ashes comeback which saw him transform from butt of all jokes to lovable third baseman with the golden glove has been a story arc which lends itself to many a blog post. Uribe has not only solidified himself as the Dodgers everyday third baseman, but he has also been the center of the Dodger clubhouse and won the hearts of Dodger fans. Plus he supposedly plays a mean game of dominoes.
Cynics may point to Uribe’s first two disastrous seasons with the Dodgers and may worry that he was only playing well due to his contract year last season. Yet his awfulness in 2011 and 2012 were primarily due to injuries including a sports hernia which he had to have surgery for. Uribe worked hard to come back and prove he could contribute to the team, and he did so gracefully even after sitting on the bench and watching career minor leaguer Luis Cruz begin the season at the hot corner. Uribe’s classiness really changed my view of him. After watching him play to his true potential in 2013, I can see why Ned Colletti went out and signed him to the three-year deal back in 2011.
What is also enjoyable is watching the reactions of the Giants fans. After the Dodgers first signed Uribe, I personally heard San Francisco fans angrily curse the deal. Then the Giants fans began to enjoy and mock Uribe’s failures during the first two seasons in Blue. Then the tides turned once again, and the Golden Gate minions hoped Uribe wouldn’t be the one who would hit that winning homerun which would propel the Dodgers into the National League Championship series with a shot at the Fall Classic. Well, he did, and they weren’t too thrilled with the double dose of Uribe and Brian Wilson‘s contributions to the Dodgers going down the stretch and in the 2013 playoffs.
Both Uribe and Wilson re-signed with the Dodgers going into 2014, and the prospect of both of them winning rings as Dodgers really makes me giddy. Signing ex-Giants isn’t really my favorite thing, but watching those players upset Giants fans is quite enjoyable.
The 34-year old infielder has only made 12 errors in three seasons with the Dodgers, and he was a finalist for the Golden Glove Award for 2013 and named the Dodgers’ Wilson Defensive Player of the Year. While $15 million may sound like a lot for Uribe, he truly is worth that for the Dodgers.
Ned Colletti’s next order of business is to sign some bench players and some relievers. J.P. Howell should be at the top of the GM’s Christmas wish list since the Dodgers are in desperate need of another lefty reliever to pair with Paco Rodriguez out of the bullpen. Jamey Wright could be brought back to pitch long-relief. Another right-handed reliever (perhaps a John Axford type) could also be targeted.
For now I can rest easy since the Dodgers have a third baseman, and it’s not Michael Young.