Giants offered to match $21 million deal before Juan Uribe signed with Dodgers

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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.

Pedro Martinez: “If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him.”

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On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.

Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:

If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.

Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.

Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.

The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.

Struggling Francisco Rodriguez’s job seems to be secure

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Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.

Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”

“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”

Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.