What Happened In 2014: At age 35, Juan Uribe managed to post another excellent season, both with the bat and with the glove. Buoyed by a career-high .368 BABIP, Uribe slashed .311/.337/.440/.777. In the field he was +13 runs by UZR, +17 runs by DRS, and +8 by FRAA, so he’s a plus defender regardless of metric, and I think most would agree the eye test would back that up.
Perhaps his best attribute, though, was his managerial ability, as the Dodgers were undefeated with him at the helm. In more serious, but also more anecdotal and subjective analysis, Uribe appeared to be a unifier in a clubhouse that probably wasn’t always unified due to the amounts of big egos in the room.
Hell, he might be the only reason Yasiel Puig remained as sane (for him) as he was most of the time.
There simply isn’t much Uribe hasn’t done for the team over the past two years. He’s provided above-average offense, excellent defense, and has been a positive influence on others, making him one of the better third basemen in the league during that span.
Juan Uribe is the best.
2015 Status: All the positives in 2013 and 2014 are absolutely true. The problem? He’s going to be 36 in 2015, he missed about 30 more games in 2014 than 2013 due to nagging soft-tissue injuries (and he missed 30 games in 2013), and his excellent BABIP hid his walk rate being halved (7.0%/3.7%). Pair that with a slight power decline, and one does have to wonder how much longer he can remain a solidly above-average regular for a team with World Series aspirations. That’s why Dustin wrote about Chase Headley, because if Corey Seager can play shortstop, then the Dodgers likely need a third baseman … maybe as soon as next year.
In any case, Uribe will undoubtedly be back with the team in the final year of his two-year contract. Juan is slated to make $6.5 million and is penciled in as the starting third baseman. Uribe should still hold solid value to the team, but it wouldn’t be a shock if he was injured for a significant time or his production took a steep dip, and this coming year could mark his last as a regular.