On the Continued Existence of Juan Uribe

Juan Uribe falls swingingOn February 4th, FanGraphs will put out “FanGraphs+“, a web-based supplement of premium content that includes over 1100 player capsules along with several long-form articles. It’s a great value for a reasonable price. 50 of those player caps were done by yours truly, including most of the Dodger roster, and the one that sticks out most in my mind is the one for Juan Uribe. While I can’t repeat what I said exactly here, suffice it to say that any recap of Uribe’s 2012 goes well past actual analysis and well into performance art; I believe I invoked some of humanity’s greatest disasters. It was unquestionably one of the recaps I enjoyed writing the most.

I bring this up because one of the questions I receive on a fairly regular basis is some variation on “why is Juan Uribe still on the roster?!”, and it’s a fair question. He’s really, truly, awful; terrible to the extent that I really don’t need to delve into the statistical facts to back it up — if you must know, his .199 career batting average as a Dodger is the worst in team history by a non-pitcher with as many plate appearances as he has — and the way he was treated by Don Mattingly down the stretch last year, shunned as though he was a leper, would seem to make it impossible to bring him back. (To Uribe’s credit, he reportedly dealt with the situation with class and without causing clubhouse problems.)

That said, Opening Day is still two months away, and while the idea of shipping him off immediately (yes, fine, into the sun) is more than a little appealing, it doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than to satisfy a little bloodlust. For the moment, Uribe isn’t taking up a 40-man roster spot that could be better used elsewhere, not when the likely trade of at least one starting pitcher should free up one spot and the bottom of the roster is still occupied by easily-DFA’d fluff like Justin Sellers. He’s not giving away outs, not when the games aren’t being played yet. He’s not costing money that isn’t already committed.

By simply cutting him now, you cut your losses and move on, much like Seattle recently did with Chone Figgins. That’s fine, but is it really that efficient? No, it won’t bother the new-money Dodgers one bit to swallow the $8m still coming to him — ultimately, that’s what I expect will happen — but by cutting him, you lose the chance to include him in a trade and make him some other team’s problem. (To clarify there, no, no other team is going to come to the Dodgers trying to get him, but if the Dodgers are taking on someone else’s problem or if the deal is weighed a little too heavily for the other team, it’s conceivable to include him.) You also lose the chance to have him work with new hitting coach Mark McGwire, and while I don’t really have a ton of hope that McGwire can find the magic bullet, nor do I think any of us ever expected Uribe to be this bad.

Besides, you could probably use the depth for the endless spring training games. Having Luis Cruz & Hanley Ramirez each away at the World Baseball Classic opens up some time on the left side, and Jerry Hairston may be limited early as he recovers from hip surgery. As much as we like the idea of “anyone who isn’t Uribe,” does anyone here really love Nick Punto or Dallas McPherson that much? No? I didn’t think so.

So no, I don’t want to see Uribe in uniform on April 1, nor do I expect him to be. But does it really matter if he gets cut on January 30 or February 30 or March 30? As long as he’s not eating up plate appearances in games that count, I submit that it doesn’t.

682 comments
Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

who wants 940 words in a new post? YOU DO.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Zips for Cruz: .262/.286/.385. Ouch.

Ker$haw$Dodger$
Ker$haw$Dodger$

I say keep him and not let him show any ounce of good baseball play so every team will shun him as the dodgers have this past year... It's like the death penalty...cutting him would be too easy

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

AJ continues to impress me 

 "@AJEllis17: @DodgersGM appreciate invite but can't make it. Gotta be on phone all night so Twitter GF knows I'm there. #noyouhangupfirst"

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

I can't believe I didn't think of making a Jackie Lego

baeksu
baeksu

 @TaylorAllender If you read between the lines on what Mike's been saying on here plus articles like this, then it seems highly possible that a trade w/ the Mariners will happen at some point.  And I really like Franklin Gutierrez.

 

TellMyWifeISaidHello
TellMyWifeISaidHello

 @DBrim The worst one for me is Ethier at .267/.343/.427. I think ZIPS believes this will be a low scoring year

HiiiiEVERYBODY (HiiiiEVERYBODY)
HiiiiEVERYBODY (HiiiiEVERYBODY)

 @plaza234 it's all good man. it's better to have won a world series and lost than to have never won at all. 

 

does this make sense?

 

 

i was a sperm when they last won.

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

 @JohnM can lead a beefalo to water, but you can't make it stop eating. 

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

shook his hand, had my picture taken. he was great. 

baeksu
baeksu

 @TaylorAllender And he's almost the same age as Casper Wells, so I don't see how Wells would be a better option other than perhaps Wells makes a better platoon partner with Ethier (which is kind of a pipe dream anyway since Ethier won't want to be a platoon player).

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@BearHunter90 It's normalized about a set ERA.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@white_guilt_paul @capnsparrow or coughing up Skaggs to get Haren

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Disgruntled Goat @EephusBlue smells like burning

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @darknesssss i tried to tell him some story about meeting him with my mom when i was a kid but my wife and i ended up talking over each other and he just politely nodded and tolerated us, lol. 

baeksu
baeksu

 @DBrim  @baeksu  @TaylorAllender He's an outstanding defensive player and an adequate bat.  He will be on the wrong side of 30 in three weeks, though.  He's only been injured two years of the last 6, right?  If that's injury prone then Matt Kemp is halfway to be labelled "injury prone" for the next 6 years.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@baeksu @TaylorAllender Gutierrez is good, but he's always hurt. Casper Wells has a more dependable injury history.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@capnsparrow @Mike Petriello @white_guilt_paul AZ needs some fried catfish to go with all that grit!

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

:D goats milk. same as a year ago

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

HERES MY RESIGNATION AND I HEREBY COPYRIGHT ALL MY JOKES

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

I DONT GET A PACKAGE?!