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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Giants Sign Juan Uribe

No, it's not earth-shattering news, in fact it's a move that doesn't really make much sense or significantly impact the team, but there is finally some movement on the Giants front to talk about. The Giants broke their month-long stretch of inactivity by signing infielder Juan Uribe to a minor league deal, according to SI.com. The Giants had been linked to Uribe earlier in the off-season as a possible fall-back option at shortstop, but after the signing of Edgar Renteria, it appeared the Uribe interest would go out the window. However, the Giants have been scouring the free-agent market for another utility player and apparently have settled on Uribe as an option. Now, Uribe isn't getting a major league deal, which means he's going to have to show up in Scottsdale and earn himself a roster spot. The 29 year-old brings the versatility to play 2nd and 3rd base in addition to shortstop. He's not a gold-glove caliber defender, but he's very serviceable at all three spots. He also would bring some power potential to the bench if he makes the squad. Uribe averaged 20 home runs a season from '04-'07, but his career OPS of .713 and some off-field issues are the reasons why he's having to settle for a minor league deal.

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.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Juan Uribe huh? Didn't he supposedly shoot somebody a few years ago or something along those lines? I don't know about this one, it doesn't make much sense to me either. Abreu could be cool though. He'll hit .300 and drive in 100 runs but he's not as good in right as Winn and there's no room for him.... oh yeah, and he's old now. I hope they don't trade Lewis in whatever circumstance.

  • At 12:00 AM, Anonymous J-Bill said…

    This post makes me remember the original Uribe... The late, great Jose Uribe. That was a good Giant.

  • At 8:14 AM, Blogger rxmeister said…

    I don't see how you could possibly sign Bobby Abreu and then trade one of your outfielders for anything of value. Considering the way the market for Abreu has come down, any team looking for outfield help would just sign him themselves. I would be interested in signing Abreu and having him play first base though, but only if the Giants' are sure that Pablo can handle third, and I don't think they are. I think Crede remains the one move for them to make. Sign him to a one year deal, and if the back goes out, you now have another option in Uribe. Maybe Aaron Rowand will be in a better frame of mind this year with a couple of his White Sox buddies to keep him company.

  • At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Giants need to go all out for Manny. Their offense hasn't improved at all so they aren't going to be much better than last year. It's not like Lincecum, Cain and Johnson can win everytime out.

  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    Ahh, A Jose Uribe name drop. He was a solid one. A lot like Omar Vizquel.

    I don't think the Giants have any sincere interest in Abreu, they may have inquired about him just in case they deal an outfielder. The market is tight for everyone right now and if the Giants dealt an outfielder it would be in a package with a pitcher, but it still is very unlikely to happen. Crede would be ok if healthy, I almost would rather have Wigginton because of his versatility.

    I still don't see the Giants ending up with Manny though. I think he ends up with an LA team. I'm pretty amazed at the quality of players that are still out there on the market while we enter February. Ramirez, Ben Sheets, Adam Dunn, Bob Abreu, Oliver Perez, Orlando Hudson, Juan Cruz, Randy Wolf and Orlando Cabrera.... Those are all-star caliber ball players right there and they're all looking for work. They'll all get signed, but there's only 3 weeks left before full squad workouts start, so I wonder if some of these guys end up signing after players report? Should be interesting to watch.

  • At 7:45 AM, Blogger rxmeister said…

    Wigginton is a solid choice, although he's not as good as a healthy Crede. The problem with Crede, of course, is that just because he's healthy now, it doesn't mean he's healthy after 140games. You also have to deal with Scott Boras. Wigginton was supposedly looking for a Casey Blake (3yrs 17 million) contract, but the Reds GM just said that he's now getting desperate for ANY contract. Maybe you just avoid the whole Boras drama and work something out with Ty. The thing that worries me about all the quality guys still out there is that they'll eventually sign cheap, and I hope it doesn't happen with some NL west team other than the Giants. I would hate to see the Dodgers sign Manny, and STILL have enough money to sign a Dunn or a Sheets. The prices might even fall enough for a broke team like the Padres or Rockies to make themselves a contender. It might even fall enough for a team like the Giants' to sign a player they don't even need, but know that he's superior to everyone on their roster, like an Orlando Hudson. It's going to be a fascinating next two weeks.

  • At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Who's on First? said…

    I read an article today from ESPN.com that makes a strong case on why Ramirez may end up with the Giants. The Dodgers could get 2 good players like Abreu and Dunn instead of Ramirez and still maybe have money for Sheets or Perez. Thats probably the smart way to go for the Dodgers. Ramierez or Dunn, Abreu and Sheets? I take the three good players over the selfish Manny "self centered" Ramirez.

  • At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ...please where can I buy a unicorn?


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