Juan Uribe, Backup First Baseman

uribe_smilesThree years ago (!), I wrote a post titled “Casey Blake, Backup Shortstop?“, based on a mention from the long-lost Tony Jackson that Blake (along with Jamey Carroll) might be an option to fill in at shortstop if when Rafael Furcal was injured. Furcal, of course, did get hurt, Carroll spent most of his time playing short, and Blake never once saw time there.

I’m a day behind on this because I was out of town for the last few days, but that’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw this nugget from Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:

With no obvious backup first baseman behind Gonzalez, Mattingly said utilitymen Jerry Hairston Jr. and Juan Uribe would work at the position this spring. Uribe has never played there as a professional. Hairston has made two brief appearances there in the majors.

While the idea of Uribe ever starting a game at first base — which is, you know, only the position that demands the highest level of offensive production and a waste of Uribe’s only value, his strong throwing arm — might be enough to have us all wistfully mourn for the days of James Loney & Juan Rivera, I’m easily filing this under “camp talk”. For now.

Uribe, as we know, has just about no role on this team any longer. He’s probably not higher than fourth on the depth chart at any of the three positions he usually plays, yet he still exists. Meanwhile, Mattingly literally has no real backup first base option behind Gonzalez, so you pay lip service to fitting a (very) round peg into a square hole. The fact that he’s still around in camp means that I can’t fully believe he won’t be on the roster until the Opening Day list comes out without him on it. But as I’ve said before, I really believe he’s here only to see if Mark McGwire can perform a miracle in six weeks, and when he can’t, Uribe would be jettisoned at the end of camp. (I know, into the sun.)

Hairston, meanwhile, seems like an acceptable — if imperfect — option. Having Skip Schumaker & Nick Punto (and Luis Cruz, if he fails to hang on to a starting gig at third) around behind Mark Ellis makes it likely that he’ll see far less time at second base than he did last year, and so having him give Gonzalez a breather once a month seems like a reasonable solution given the limited choices he has there.

Fortunately, Gonzalez doesn’t have a terrible platoon split, because that last sentence was going to read “a breather against tough lefties,” before I remembered that they need him to help out Carl Crawford & Andre Ethier in that regard, once again getting back to the huge flaw in the roster. Can they just trade an excess starter for Casper Wells or Franklin Gutierrez or Drew Stubbs already and just make this easier on everyone?

92topps_ajellisMattingly also added…

 ”A.J. has played there in the past,” Mattingly said of catcher A.J. Ellis. “But I don’t really like the thought of doing that (with his primary catcher). I really like the thought of Adrian playing 150 games or more over there.”

While I totally agree with the idea of not wanting to put your starting catcher out there at other positions — what, we miss the days of Russell Martin playing third base? — I can’t help but note that Ellis’ previous first base experience consists of single games in the minors in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, & 2011. (And I’m guessing they’re not all starts — while the minor league logs don’t indicate whether he started or not, I imagine you can’t play an entire game at first and manage only a single putout, as he did in 2003 & 2008.)

By the way, five games of experience at first base is exactly the same as he has on the mound, having made it into eight innings over five games for Jacksonville in 2006-07.

******

Speaking of Ellis, we all remember being surprised to find out that he had undergone a relatively secret knee operation after the season. According to Ken Gurnick earlier this week, Ellis “was injured in a home-plate collision July 18,” and indeed he did not play again until July 22. That said, I went over that game against the Phillies — that was the Clayton Kershaw / Cliff Lee matchup that ended on a Matt Kemp walkoff in the tenth — and there’s nothing close to a collision. All three of the Philadelphia runs scored on two hits, neither of which had Ellis making any contact, and while he reached base twice, he never advanced past second. So either it was less of a “collision” and more of an awkward tweak, or it was a different game entirely. Too bad; I was really hoping to pin that on Shane Victorino, too.

******

Finally, over at FanGraphs, we’re doing depth chart investigations for every team, and I took the Dodger rotation. This is probably all information that you all know, but since I’ve seen larger sites claiming that every Dodger starting option from Harang to Lilly to Koufax is definitely going to be the #5 starter, it’s probably informative for the larger audience.

167 comments
hillbillygreg
hillbillygreg

Agon has missed like 13games his whole career  including 3 last yr because of the trade. who ever plays back up won't get winded thats for sure

Kemps Shoe
Kemps Shoe

For a second there I thought Hanley tweeted "I'm black people!" but he wrote back

Guitar
Guitar

got Billingsley's signature today

 

He had a bit of a beard growing again. I asked him, "Are you going to let the beard grow in again-- go back to your old Beardingsley ways?"

"Hahaha. Maybe... We'll see. We'll see."

 

......................I'm awesome, folks.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

As TURRIBLE as the Beefalo generally is, TBLA may have found WHY Andre is struggling against lefties. " Ethier now has over 1100 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. He has this line .238/.296/.352 with 238 strikeouts and 19 home runs. His real issue is on the road against left handed pitching, in his career, in 537 plate appearances, he is hitting .198/.259/.286 with 4 home runs, 122 strikeouts and 35 walks. At home, he's doing better at .275/.331/.414 with 15 home runs, 116 strikeouts and 34 walks."

Bluebloodla92
Bluebloodla92

Nice post by rosenthal. It sounds as if Greinke is really dialed in.

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

So at this point, Kershaw can walk in with a photo copy of King Felix' contract and say "Tack on a couple million for being left handed," right? 

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

Y'know I get why people are critical of the Dodgers for sticking with Cruz/Hanley at 3B. But really, what other options are out there that are much better? U can't be critical of the team for spending big as wasteful then expect them to dole out contracts to scrubby declining 3b which are all that is really available.

efb
efb

Greinke with a shout out to Kobe: “There are some guys where, honestly, it’s like stopping Kobe Bryant. You can’t completely stop ’em. You can try to limit a little bit of what they do. But they’re still going to get on.

JackedNate
JackedNate

 @IBBFTW This is weird. I'm wondering but not going to research on my own: How many other players with large RH/LH splits have such large home/road splits on their troubling side.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

If this pattern holds, we should know when a righty should step in for Dre. I'd like to see the home/road and RH/LH splits on Crawford going forward. There should be enough opportunity for Hairy and Castle to fill in to stay focused and keep Dre and Crawford fresh.

JackedNate
JackedNate

 @the_real_paul Guggenheim should give Kershaw what he asks for; not just cause he's a beast on the mound but because it'd be like giving to a charity since Kershaw does a ton of humanitarian work every off season. With his contract he can save half of Africa.

TellMyWifeISaidHello
TellMyWifeISaidHello

 @the_real_paul If I had to guess I bet he signs at 7/176, so right around what Felix got after this season or at the end of march. With next year being 20 million and then the next six all at 26 per year.

TellMyWifeISaidHello
TellMyWifeISaidHello

 @the_real_paul Yes and no, yes because being left handed do generally  get paid more. But there is usually a discount associated with signing a guy to his first big contract two years from free agency. 

Bluebloodla92
Bluebloodla92

@EephusBlue Like hanley at 3rd or SS too, idc

Bluebloodla92
Bluebloodla92

@EephusBlue I expect more youk than cruz. Even rolen, even rolens ops was around 700, I dont think cruz is capable of 700 IMO

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@EephusBlue Better Hanley than Youk. The Yankees will see that quickly when he breaks.

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

 @Mike Petriello "I've been riding motorcycles since I was six years old. I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize my career." like... you know, riding motorcycles as a six year old. 

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @Mike Petriello So far the Dodgers haven't said or done anything on this so it could be that he's telling enough of the truth to stay a Dodger. I like that they haven't just acted without knowing though!

KMT59
KMT59

 @WBBsAs      

 I went the year it opened...love it

JackedNate
JackedNate

 @WBBsAs  @BearHunter90  @the_real_paul I'd say I loved a place that was paying me 176mil too. And the trend lately has been for players to avoid Seattle. 

 

The team is terrible and the weather sucks. You don't choose Seattle, Seattle chooses you; with millions of guaranteed monies. 

JackedNate
JackedNate

 @the_real_paul  @BearHunter90 I agree with your comment but don't like it. I'll always have a soft spot in my calloused heart for Seattle because of the SNES Ken Griffey game. That game was AWESOME!!!

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

 @JackedNate  @BearHunter90 I hate to say it, but this contract basically ensures that he'll continue to be the one great player on an otherwise awful team for nearly a decade to come. 

Bluebloodla92
Bluebloodla92

@DavePomerantz I know, just saying I consider him a superior batter than cruz

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@capnsparrow @Bob Meripol @Mike Petriello SOMEONE has to play SS if Dee gets promoted.