COMMENTARY | This is tough for me to write. Since Juan Uribe's signing in November of 2010, I've been against it every step of the way. It's partly because he's an ex-San Francisco Giants' player, but also because he wasn't a good baseball player. But Uribe is earning his keep this season -- the final one of his contract.
Uribe has a .274/.368/.410 triple slash -- immensely better than he was in his first two seasons as a Dodger (.199/.262/.289). For some reason, manager Don Mattingly isn't playing Uribe every day, which actually could benefit Uribe's numbers (less playing time, less chance for failure).
Unlike general manager Ned Colletti, I'm OK with swallowing my pride and admitting I'm wrong. While I wasn't wrong the first two years, I was this year. Juan Uribe is a valuable piece of the Dodgers -- how valuable can be debated, seeing as the team is 29-39 and in last place in the National League West.
The Dodgers have struggled through all kinds of injuries this season. A guy like Matt Kemp would normally be leading the team in wins above replacement. Alas, he is not. Uribe ranks third on the Dodgers in offensive WAR at 1.2. In his first two seasons with the Dodgers, he posted a combined 0.6 WAR. I'm not sure if it's Mark McGwire's tutelage or the fact it's a contract year, but Uribe has been a valuable contributor to the team.
Uribe's biggest draw has been his glove and power potential. While he's no more than a statute at third base this season, he sucks up everything hit his way. He has a 17.7 ultimate zone rating per 150 games is seventh-best in baseball (minimum 200 innings) and he's saved the 10th-most runs in the league with three.
At 33, Uribe's best days are behind him. However, and I can't believe I'm writing this, the Dodgers ... *gulp* should consider re-signing Uribe following the season to be a utility player -- IF he maintains his solid play.
Argh! I think I need a shower.
I said earlier this season Uribe was the owner of the worst contract in Dodgers' history. While the deal was still extremely foolish, he's playing well enough in 2013 that it isn't a problem.
It figures: the season Uribe actually plays well, the rest of the team doesn't. That's certainly not Uribe's fault. If anything, it's just bad luck.
My favorite part about the Uribe revival is the nicknamed that spawned from it. Juan Uribear. It just works. It also works when he does something bad, making it Booribear instead. But those moments have been few and far between.
The Dodgers suck right now. Sorry to be so blunt, but it's true. Uribe, surprisingly, doesn't. If the team ever starts playing up to its potential -- injuries notwithstanding -- at least it will have a nice bench piece in Uribear.
This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I never thought I'd be signing Uribe's praises. But here we are ... and I've officially given up control of the "Juan Uribe hate train."
Just don't make me regret writing this, Uribear.
Dustin Nosler has followed the Dodgers from Northern California all his life. He's the founder of Feelin' Kinda Blue, a Dodger blog. He also co-hosts "Dugout Blues," a weekly Dodger podcast. Find him on Twitter @FeelinKindaBlue.
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