The hot stove has cooled off a bit on this weekend following the winter meetings — which is quite a difference from last year — but we do have one notable signing to report. According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, free agent Juan Uribe has agreed to a new two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers to continue as their starting third baseman. The Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett confirms the deal and add it'll be worth around $15 million.
Finally healthy for a full season, Uribe bounced back from two disappointing seasons in Los Angeles with a .278/.331/.438 slash line and a career best 117 OPS+ in 2013. That production, coupled with Gold Glove-caliber defense at the hot corner, made Uribe a priority for general manager Ned Colletti to re-sign this winter. Uribe also drew interest from the Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays, but seemed to be waiting for Los Angeles to offer a second year so he could stay put.
In the end, it appears everyone got what they wanted. That includes Uribe's teammates, who according to TrueBlueLA's Eric Stephen would almost unanimously select the 34-year-old veteran as their favorite teammate.
For over a year I had a farewell Uribe post partially pre-written saved as a draft ready to go upon his eventual release. But that never happened, and the Dodgers are reaping the benefits now.
"Regardless what Juan did the past two years, Juan has been, I think consensus, he's probably been the most liked teammate we have," said Clayton Kershaw. "He's an incredible guy. He's always the same no matter what. You couldn't tell of he's 1-for-30 or 30-for-30. The way he plays, I just couldn't be happier for him. I love him to death."
"If you ask everyone in this clubhouse who is their favorite teammate, 95 percent will tell you Juan Uribe," said Ellis.
That's a lot of love and respect.
Dodgers fans have probably joined them on that bandwagon as well despite his rough start with the team. A bounce back regular season is one thing, but the moment he provided in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves is one they'll remember for years to come.
Here is what one #Dodgers player said recently about Uribe: “Amazing teammate and defender who hit organization’s biggest HR since Gibson.”
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 14, 2013
He's not quite Carlos Beltran in the postseason — as his .214 average would indicate — but Uribe always had a flare for the dramatic during championship runs with the White Sox and San Francisco Giants. It doesn't make a lick of sense that he has a knack for delivering his biggest hits of the season at just the right moment, but Dodgers are hoping there's more from wherever that comes from over the next two seasons.
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