I am fairly certain that everyone outside of Ned Colletti dreads the notion of Juan Uribe playing any amount of games or innings in Dodger blue this season that exceeds one. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Dodger brass is counting on. Uribe enters 2012 as the starting third baseman following one of the worst seasons in recent memory, and with a full year to go beyond 2012 on his three-year, $21 million back-loaded contract, which still has $16 million remaining on it.
Uribe, coming off an injury-plagued 2011 in which he appeared in just 77 games, started 53 at the hot corner. Let’s focus on the positive first, because there happens to be just one positive when it comes to Uribe: his glove. Juan posted a 17.1 UZR/150 in just over 462 innings at third last season, a fact that aligns well with his career numbers at third, as well as at second and short.
With the lumber flailing in his hands, Uribe posted a slash line of .204/.264/.293/.557 with a pitiful wOBA of .250. He fanned in just over 20% of his plate appearances while drawing free passes at a clip of just 5.8%. A woeful ISO of .089 from a man supposedly filled with power simply will not cut it. Uribe ended up posting a WAR of 0.4, and that was only in the black due to his plus glove and acceptable baserunning abilities.
Juan Uribe is a more than capable defender, and would not be out of place as a Swiss Army Knife reserve coming off the end of the bench for defense or to occasionally pinch-hit in the hopes he could run into one.
Unfortunately, Juan Uribe will be asked to hit often this season. Perhaps the Mayans were right.