There were rumors on May 26, 2015, that the Dodgers were going to trade Juan Uribe to the Braves. The rumors came to the surface after their game against the Braves as the L.A. Times reported a trade was made but Alberto Callaspo was able to veto the trade. The next day, the trade was consummated a few hours before the next game.
Those 24 hours as Dodgers’ fans were crazy and disappointing. This article will take a look at that dark time in recent Dodgers’ history and also look at the time Juan Uribe was with the Dodgers.
The Bad Years
The Dodgers signed Juan Uribe as a free agent to a 3 year contract after he helped the Giants win the 2010 World Series. Immediately, fans weren’t fired up about the signing and he got off to a horrible start with the Dodgers. He played mostly third base for the Dodgers (and some second base) during his first two seasons of 2011 and 2012 and was terrible. In 2011 he slashed .204/.264/.293 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 77 games and in 2012 he slashed .191/.258/.284 in 66 games. By the end of 2012 he’d lost the third base job to Luis Cruz and many thought he’d be released before 2013.
The Road to Becoming a Fan Favorite
On an awful day in Dodgers’ history (Carlos Quenten broke Zack Greinke’s collarbone) Juan Uribe hit a pinch-hit homer to put the Dodgers ahead of the Padres. In a “must-win” game due to the circumstances, Uribe came though in a clutch moment. This was the beginning of Dodgers’ fans becoming Juan Uribe fans.
Throughout the season he kept becoming a key player for the Dodgers and by mid-May Uribe was the starter at third base. He even had a three home run game in September against the Diamondbacks. In a season dominated by great pitching, Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig, Uribe was an important member of the Western Division Champions. He also was a key person for Puig, helping him through his first Major League season.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 22, 2013
— Beto Durán (@DuranSports) October 24, 2014
An underrated part of Uribe’s game was his defense at third base. According to FanGraphs he was the second best defensive third baseman in the National League in 2013. The video highlights here were put together by “Friend Of The Show”, Erick Vazquez, Senior Producer for the Dodgers to display how good Uribe was on defense.
“Legends Never Die”
The 2013 National League Division Series against the Braves is when Uribe went from fan favorite to Dodgers’ legend. With the Dodgers down 3-2 in the bottom of the eight inning, Yasiel Puig hit a double off of David Carpenter. This brought up Uribe and, despite him not doing it all year, manager Don Mattingly called on him to bunt. He promptly bunt-fouled the first two pitches. After two balls, Uribe pounded a high and hanging breaking ball into the Dodgers’ bullpen. Thank goodness Uribe could not bunt.
After slashing .278/.331/.438 during his age 34 season he was rewarded with two year contract. In 2014 he rewarded the Dodgers by slashing .311/.337/.440 in 103 games. He still played excellent third base and was a key contributor as the Dodgers won the Western Division again. Heading into Spring Training Uribe was the incumbent third baseman but got off to a slow start and had some minor injuries. Justin Turner started off well after an excellent 2014 and Alex Guerrero also got off to a nice start. All of a sudden, Uribe wasn’t playing much at all and with free agency approaching and turning 36, he was no longer in the Dodgers’ plans.
May 27, 2015
With the rumors of the trade after the game on May 26, there was still hope that the trade wouldn’t go through and that Uribe would stick around a bit longer.
Sources: Callaspo rejected trade. Had right under CBA to say no to any deal before June 15 as a free agent who signed last off-season.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 26, 2015
However, the news broke that the trade was completed the next day.
The Dodgers have acquired Alberto Callaspo, Ian Thomas, Juan Jaime and Eric Stults from @Braves for Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow. (1/2)
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 27, 2015
To make it even worse, he was in the lineup that night for the Braves.
Juan Uribe has a message for you, Dodger fans. pic.twitter.com/a7xuNPX2BM
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 27, 2015
The talent they got from the Braves was a bad player and three wild cards.
#Dodgers Juan Uribe is a great clubhouse presence & very good player. Alberto Callaspo is neither.
— Lyle Spencer (@LyleMSpencer) May 26, 2015
In hindsight, Alex Guerrero turned out to be a bust but Justin Turner was more than expected. Alberto Callaspo was with the Dodgers for a few months and was pretty worthless. Even worse, he took Uribe’s number 5. However, some poetic justice occurred when Corey Seager was called up to the Dodgers on September 3rd of that year. He got number 5 (Callaspo was released in August). Now, that is a worthy replacement!
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 3, 2015
For the Dodgers, was it worth it? Yes, Uribe was slowing down but it would have been nice to have his bat on the bench when they played the Mets in the 2015 National League Divisional Championship. The front office talked about letting him establish his value for his impending free agency but letting a leader like Uribe go seemed to be an issue. Could he have helped Yasiel Puig during his difficult 2015? We will never know.
In my household we still hold Juan Uribe in high regard and we hope he is doing well. I’ve not seen his name in the news for quite a while but wouldn’t it be awesome to see him at Dodger Stadium again? Maybe an “old-timers” game, something to commemorate is NLDS home run or just hand out like Ron Cey, Steve Garvey and many other former Dodgers do. Wherever you are, Juan Uribe, I hope you are happy and well.