Cardinals expected to aggressively pursue Juan Uribe

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That’s the word from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who writes that the Cardinals could use Juan Uribe at third base or shortstop.

Uribe, who turns 32 in March, batted .248/.310/.440 with 24 homers and 85 RBI this past season. And though he had a lousy .149 batting average during the playoffs, he also had his fair share of big hits, which will probably boost his value this winter.

If Uribe signs with St. Louis, I could see him being used in a similar role as he was in San Francisco. The Cardinals still hope David Freese can be their everyday third baseman eventually, but he is a question mark after undergoing procedures on both of his ankles late in the season. Uribe could function as insurance at the hot corner while also stepping in for Brendan Ryan at shortstop and Skip Schumaker at second.

Uribe isn’t the only possible solution, though. According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Tony La Russa and a front-office faction” have long pushed for the addition of Miguel Tejada, who is also a free agent this winter. The 36-year-old batted .269/.312/.381 with 15 homers and 71 RBI between the Orioles and Padres this past season, playing both third base and shortstop.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.