So Juan Uribe… If you look at Uribe’ Dodger career, you see 4 seasons. 2 terrible ones, 1 truly great one, and one above average one. Now, look at the game played in each season, 77, 66, 132, 81 respectively. Granted, the first two years were partially because he was so horrible that Mattingly deemed him unplayable at all in situations, however part of the reason Uribe was so horrible those first two years was easily due to injury. Various muscle, wrist, back and hand ailments that caused him to be ineffective, and only make it into 143 games in those 2 seasons.
Last season Uribe made it into 132 games which is incredible for a guy his age. Despite dealing with some chronic ailments, he was able to put up a 5.0 fWAR season largely due to his above average offense, and some incredible defense.
This season the DL count is up to 2, both of the culprits being the same bad hamstring. And if the second one is any worse than the first one, Uribe might be lucky to make it into 3 games, like his steamer projection states.
Uribe is set to be 36 years old next season, final year of his contract, only making it into 100+ games in 1 out of the last 4 seasons he’s played in. That seems like a problem. A problem that would probably have been talked about more had Justin Turner not chosen the Dodgers.
So the Dodgers might actually need a third baseman. They are probably going to need a shortstop. It’s way too early for rosterbation, but I can’t help think, what about Hanley Ramirez coming back as a third baseman? This isn’t exactly a new idea, Hanley’s on board with it, the Dodgers say it will happen at some point. It hasn’t yet because a genuine need hasn’t arisen.
It is important to point out that defensive metrics (take them how you want to) think that Ramirez is a below average 3b, defensive runs saved has him at -11 runs and UZR has him at -3.6 runs. I don’t think he’s that bad, only because 860 innings is not a lot for someone who hasn’t had a lot of time at the position in the first place. But I would assume the thinking would be put a defensive wizard at the more important position in SS next to a below average 3b, and the defense would be average.
There’s no doubt Ramirez has an elite bat. Try finding infielders who can hit .277/.367/.455 and still be ripped on by their fanbase for having a down year offensively.
Looking at all of the batted ball indicators, he’s nearly the same player except a notable and more realistic decrease in the home runs per fly ball, so there’s evidence that while he’s probably not as good as he was last year where he OPS’d in the 1.000’s, he’s probably better than what he showed this season.
Elite hitters don’t fall off the face of the earth that easily. Many times it’s the defense that goes first, and since he plays SS, a move to 3b is inevitable.
Like I said, the move has been talked about, this is nothing new, however with what the team said about Cuban SS Erisbel Arruebarrena, I am wondering if this is the way the Dodgers are leaning towards.
Mattingly said the Dodgers like Arruebarrena’s upside as a hitter. Compared him to Andrelton Simmons from a physical standpoint
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) August 19, 2014
Hey, I don’t think he’s Andrelton Simmons either. I thought, hopefully he was Alcides Escobar, but if Erisbel Arruebarrena can hit somewhere in the vicinity of .251/.296/.352, nobody would be complaining with the defense he offers.
Bringing Hanley back could mean a lot of different things for the infield depth, what happens to Miguel Rojas, how are you going to work around Alexander Guerrero’s “opt out if traded” clause, what happens to Juan Uribe. But this is jut something to think about, one hypothetical scenario where Hanley Ramirez remains a Dodger without garnering the contempt of a fanbase that would clearly despise him being the shortstop for longer than 2014.