Giants Sign Juan Uribe
I'm not really too concerned with this signing for the simple fact it is a minor league deal and having a guy like Uribe in Fresno as insurance isn't a bad thing at all. Now that would change if Uribe ends up taking at-bats away from the younger infielders like Kevin Frandsen, Emmanuel Burris, Eugenio Velez or Travis Ishikawa, the players that need to be getting the looks. Also, the Uribe signing could mean the Giants won't bring back the popular Rich Aurilia, but there is still a possibility that they'll add another third or first basemen (Joe Crede worked out in AZ yesterday) who they would plan on having start.
The fear I have is that Uribe was signed in mind of having him battle for a starting job rather than an insurance policy, a lot like Jose Castillo was last spring before he ended up at third everyday. Burris, Frandsen and Velez should be battling it out for at-bats at second base and unless Uribe's spring blows the others away, he should stay behind those guys on the depth chart. Any playing time, or roster spot that Uribe receives must be earned. Sure, he has the power potential to lead the infield in home runs, but that doesn't help a whole lot if he's hitting .225 and getting on base at less then a %30 rate. If the plan is indeed to stash Uribe down in Fresno until needed then I have no qualms with this move and can actually see the logic in it. The Giants don't have many infielders outside of the guys who are going to be on the roster that are major league ready and could come up and take the place of an infielder if someone goes down.
Rumor Note: I'm not sure how seriously to take this one, but according to Ken Rosenthal, the Giants have shown interest in Bobby Abeu as a potential fall-back to Manny Ramirez. It's a little unclear why the Giants would have interest in Abreu as they are already set in the outfield and Abreu is on the backside of his career. Ramirez is a game changer and could potentially make the Giants legit contenders in the National League. Abreu is a complimentary player at this point in his career. Now Abreu isn't chopped liver by any means, and I do think his style of hitting would translate well at AT&T Park (he's not a pull happy power hitter). He's almost a sure thing to knock in 100 runs a year and steal around 20 bags while carrying a respectable average and hitting for some power. Not to mention, he could probably be had at bargain price as he'll apparently settle for a 1 year deal. Still though, he doesn't make a ton of sense for this team unless they have something up their sleeve. The only explanation I can come up with is that the Giants may have a plan with one of their current outfielders (Fred Lewis, Randy Winn?) as they could possibly package an outfielder and a pitcher for a young corner infielder, then replace the traded outfielder with Abreu. I highly doubt this rumor has any merit to it, but it's worthy of keeping an eye on.