In today’s player evaluation, we take a look back at a player that signed a three-year deal with the Dodgers and couldn’t hit his weight the first two years. He’s the ex-Giant who won a World Series title in 2011 and also won a World Series title with the Chicago White Sox.
Juan Uribe signed the deal with the Dodgers and in his contract year, he finally turned things around. Uribe and Luis Cruz were set to platoon this season, but he quickly surpassed expectations and had the comeback season for the Dodgers.
Regular Season Grade: B+
Well, the Dodgers thought they had their third baseman after Cruz hit .297 with six home runs and 40 RBI down the stretch in 78 games. However, Cruz couldn’t come close to his play and that resulted in the Dodgers cutting ties with him and giving Uribe the job after he impressed in the first few months of the season.
In stepped Uribe and he marveled at third base with his exceptional defense and seemingly found his bat again. He finished the year with a .278 batting average, 12 home runs, 50 RBIs and 22 doubles and came up with clutch hits as well.
At the plate, Uribe had a career-best on-base percentage with .331 and tied for fourth on the team in home runs. However, Uribe also became a mentor to Yasiel Puig and helped guide him along during his rookie season. Whether it was playing dominos with Hyun-Jin Ryu or eat bananas in the dugout, Uribe was a clubhouse favorite this season.
Playoff Grade: B
This grade would be a lot higher if it weren’t for his disappearance in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, then again, the grade would be a lot lower if he didn’t hit a dramatic two-run home run against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.
Uribe finished October hitting .231 with two home runs, one double and seven RBI, but he cemented his place in Dodgers lore in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the NLDS. Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Puig led off the inning with a double and Don Mattingly instructed Uribe to get the runner to third by bunting him over, but he was unsuccessful in his first two attempts.
Then Uribe, seemingly after failing to do his job, redeemed himself by launching the biggest home run of his Dodgers career and one of the biggest home runs in Dodgers history to take the 4-3 lead and the series.
Overall Grade: B
Uribe was a huge disappointment at third base with a hefty contract in his first two seasons in Los Angeles. Fortunately, third time really is a charm and he had a solid season in 2013.
He looked like the player the Dodgers envisioned when they signed him to a three-year contracts and was a big part of the rejuvenated clubhouse that saw the Dodgers go from last to first. He also had his Kirk Gibson-esque moment in the postseason with his towering home run to clinch the NLDS.
With the Dodgers still without an answer at third base, there’s a chance they’d be interested in bringing him back on a short-term deal. It’s being reported that he’s seeking a three-year deal, but with Corey Seager making noise in the minor leagues, it’s unlikely they commit so much to Uribe.
ICYMI: Did You See What Happened When Clayton Kershaw Was Asked About A $300 Million Dollar Extension Right After Winning Cy Young?