Because Juan Uribe is looking pretty much cooked.
Fresh off an inaugural season with the Dodgers in which he hit .204/.264/.293 with four homers in 270 at-bats, Uribe is batting .231/.286/.282 in 39 at-bats this spring. It’s also a safe guess he wasn’t the subject of any “best shape of his life” articles after reporting to camp.
Uribe is only entering the second year of that ridiculous three-year, $21 million contract that Ned Colletti gave him last season, so the Dodgers are pretty much handing him a starting job at third base. They might well be better off with Jerry Hairston Jr. or Josh Fields there, though.
The Dodgers enter the season seemingly assured of below average production at third, second and behind the plate, and things also aren’t so rosy at first base or in left field. It’s going to be up to Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw to carry the load again, but there is one good sign: Andre Ethier is having a terrific spring (.390/.435/.878 in 41 AB) and seems poised to give the Dodgers a legitimate bat behind Kemp in the order.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.