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After two of the worst seasons in Dodgers history, will Uribe get a third chance for his charm?
The Dodgers signed infielder Juan Uribe to a three-year, $21 million contract after the 2010 campaign, a contract that looked inflated even the deal's most ardent supporters. But Uribe has done nothing to support such a contract since joining the team.
For the first two years of his contract, the Dodgers got one of the worst hitters in the 129-year history of the franchise. Uribe hit .191/.258/.284 with two home runs and in 66 games in 2012, which made Dodgers fans long for his 2011 campaign of .204/.264/.293 with four home runs in 77 games.
Of all non-pitchers with at least 400 plate appearances as a Dodger, Uribe's 54 OPS+ is the sixth lowest.
|Worst Hitters in Dodgers History|
|Juan Castro||1995-99, 2009-11||622||.207/.260/.271||.530||44|
Just about the only thing going for Uribe in his defense is his defense, which is stellar all around the infield. He has played second base, third base and shortstop throughout his career, but this season is adding to the repertoire first base, a position he had never played in 16 years as a professional until Feb. 25.
"I'm here to help the team. Whatever the team says, to play second base, short, wherever, I'll be there. I feel good, and feel okay to play first base," Uribe said. "Sometimes when you play one position, when you play other positions it's too difficult. But for me, when you play shortstop you can play any other position. I don't think I'll have too many problems playing first base."
Manager Don Mattingly is trying Uribe at first base this spring as a possible back up to Adrian Gonzalez, in addition to backing up the other three infield spots.
"We're really just trying to give him more value and figure out how we're going to be able to use him with the players we have," Mattingly said. "That being said, obviously you want your guys to hit."
Aye, there is the rub with Uribe, who hasn't hit at all since donning the blue. All the defensive versatility in the world doesn't matter if he continues to hit .199/.262/.289, as he has throughout his Dodgers career.
Uribe is trying to prove himself all over again in spring training.
"I'm ready for myself. I know I can do it. I had two bad years, but those are forgotten," Uribe said. "Now it's a new year and I'll try to do better and help the team."
Uribe hit three home runs in nine games at Dodger Stadium as a Giant in 2010. Uribe has hit four home runs in 80 games at Dodger Stadium in two seasons as a Dodger.
Uribe is in the final season of a three-year deal that will pay him $7 million in 2013. He also gets $1 million deferred from his signing bonus in 2014.
Previous Player Profiles
2011: The costly updgrade
2012: Bounceback kid?
|2010 (San Francisco)
|2013 Projections - Age 34 Season|
A good barometer for just how bad Uribe has been offensively is to look at those mostly putrid projections and think, "Wow, that would be a great improvement." There are several scenarios when rosterbating that include the assumption of someone taking Uribe's spot. Given the ample opportunities afforded the Dodgers to rid themselves of Uribe, I see no reason to believe they will cut bait now. I think Uribe sticks around, and hits .224/.281/.349 with six home runs.
What is your guess for Uribe? Be sure to guess BA/OBP/SLG, date you think he might be rocketed into the sun, and any other thing you wish to guess.