It was four years ago today that third baseman Juan Uribe signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Dodgers coming over from the rival San Francisco Giants.
Uribe was coming off a season in which he hit .248 with 24 home runs and 85 RBI in 148 games, en route to a World Series title. He was signed to provide the Dodgers with a third baseman that would provide solid defense and power in the lineup.
The then 31-year-old became a bust in his first season with the Dodgers and finished with a .204 average in just 77 games before having season-ending surgery. Uribe was a complete mess at the plate and hit just four home runs in 270 at-bats. He went down in July with an abdominal injury that was then characterized as a sports hernia and he missed the remainder of the season.
In 2012, it was even worse for Uribe as he finished the season with just a .191 batting average in 66 games. He had just two home runs and 17 RBI in 162 at-bats and spent a majority of the second half on the bench. The third baseman played in just one game after August 26 and was seen as a player just holding a spot. Many believed that Uribe was on the verge of being released by the Dodgers.
The Dodgers kept Uribe heading into 2013, but he was the backup third baseman to Luis Cruz. Once Cruz began to struggle, manager Don Mattingly began to use Uribe and he earned more playing time. By June, the 34-year-old was the everyday third baseman for the Dodgers. He finished the season at .278 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI in 132 games. His biggest moment of the season came in the playoffs when he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 4 of the NLDS that gave the Dodgers the lead and effectively won the series.
Uribe signed a two-year deal last winter and came back to enjoy another strong season with the Dodgers. Although he dealt with injuries, the slick-fielding third baseman hit .311 with nine home runs and 54 RBIs in 103 games. He was a finalist for a Gold Glove for the second year in a row.