Multiple sources are saying that the Dodgers are taking a hard look at infielder Juan Uribe.
I like Uribe and I like that the Dodgers would look at trying to take away a key part of the Giants’ 2010 success. Some nice in-your-face value to it, ya know?
At the same time, I think Uribe may be the overpay of the offseason. He’s got pop, yes, and after having watched him in the playoffs I’m higher on his defense than I had been previously. But he still has some suspect on-base abilities, posting a .300+ OBP twice in the past five years. Yes, it was the last two, so maybe he figured something out, but he’s still pretty below average in that department.
I’d take a chance on him if I were the Dodgers. He’s certainly an upgrade over Ryan Theriot at second and could easily replace Rafael Furcal or Casey Blake if one gets injured or next year when both are presumably gone. But in a thin market for infielders, he’s probably going to get paid more than he’s worth. As long as the Dodgers realize that and don’t expect him to be an elite hitter, great. If they think they’re going to get everything they pay for, however, they may be a bit disappointed.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.