Juan Uribe returns to Dodgers with two-year deal worth around $15 million

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Fortunately for Dodgers fans, the idea of the team using Michael Young as their starting third baseman in 2014 was short-lived.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers and Juan Uribe have reached agreement on a two-year deal to keep him in Los Angeles. No word yet on the terms involved.

Such a scenario would have been considered a longshot back in March, as Uribe contributed very little in the first two years of his three-year, $21 million deal with the Dodgers, but he came out of nowhere in 2013 with the best season of his career. The 34-year-old hit .278/.331/.438 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI over 132 games while playing excellent defense at third base. Well-liked in the clubhouse, Uribe also came up big during the postseason, including a go-ahead homer during the NLDS against the Braves that pushed the Dodgers to the NLCS.

The Marlins, White Sox and Rays were among the other teams who reportedly showed interest in Uribe this winter. The Dodgers were said to be considering Young as an alternative at third base if Uribe signed elsewhere, but they were able to convince him to stick around.

UPDATE: Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register confirms the report and adds that it’s worth around $15 million. The Dodgers were originally offering one year with an option, but pushed it to two years to get the deal done. .

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.