Juan Uribe’s three-year, $21 million contract with the Dodgers strikes me as a significant over-pay for a 31-year-old with a career on-base percentage of .300 who’s cracked a .750 OPS once since 2004, but according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times the Giants offered to match that deal in an unsuccessful last-minute effort to keep Uribe.
Uribe explained yesterday that the Dodgers expressing immediate and consistent interest in him following the World Series played a big part in his decision, saying that the courting process “made me very emotional” and “very proud.”
There have been some conflicting reports about the exact value of the Giants’ final offer to Uribe, but most sources seem to agree that San Francisco offered at least $20 million for three seasons and may have upped that to $21 million just before he signed with Los Angeles. Ultimately the Giants are probably better off for not re-signing Uribe at that price, although replacing him with Miguel Tejada for $6.5 million in 2011 may turn out to be a mistake in itself.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that “the Giants will sacrifice some defense at shortstop for more offense” in turning to Tejada. That’s half true, because Tejada’s range at age 37 is severely lacking, but the “more offense” part is questionable at best. Tejada hit .269 with a .692 OPS in 156 games between the Orioles and Padres, which is actually even worse than Uribe’s modest career marks and significantly below the production Uribe provided in 2010.
More likely is that in signing Tejada the Giants are really sacrificing defense and offense for veteran-ness.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.