Like many others, I’ve made no bones about it and I am on record as saying it: the Juan Uribe experiment has failed… and miserably. He has been a disaster since the day that he arrived in Los Angeles. There is simply no kind or gentle way to say it – Juan Uribe sucks.
Heading into the third and (thankfully) final year of his ridiculous $21 million contract, Uribe has hit exactly six (count ‘em, SIX) home runs in his 474 plate appearances as a Dodger. This figures out to be one home run for every 79 plate appearances, or $3.5 million per home run. Three years and $21 million for this? For a guy hitting .199 since donning a Dodger uniform? This is absolutely unacceptable – period.
But as much as Uribe is to blame for his complete ineptitude, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti needs to shoulder some of the responsibility too – something that he seems to have difficulty doing.
Now I certainly understand that “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” (that is, Colletti had very little money to work with under former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to build a winning team), but after Uribe’s absolutely horrible first two years of his insane three-year contract, Colletti has got to know that the Uribe experiment has failed too, and he needs to show Juan Uribe to the door. Why Colletti continues to belabor the Uribe disaster is truly one of life’s greatest mysteries.
And it doesn’t stop with Ned Colletti.
Just as I am on record for saying that Uribe is basically useless and a waste of a valuable roster spot, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is on record as saying that, for reasons known only to him, he likes Juan Uribe – more specifically that he likes having Uribe in his clubhouse. In fact, Mattingly has said on several occasions that Uribe is a great clubhouse guy. And while I cannot and will not dispute this, nor will I question that Juan is a great guy and all, at what point will his teammates become sick and tired of his absolutely pathetic, excessive and ugly strikeouts - especially when the game is on the line, as is usually the case when Mattingly brings him into games (usually as a pinch hitter with runners in scoring position)?
Nearly every time that I have been blessed to be in the Dodgers dugout for Mattingly’s pre-game media conference, he usually receives at least one question (and usually more) about Uribe’s ineptitude and when will the Dodgers cut their losses by designated Uribe for assignment. Without exception, Donny B does a tap dance around the question and moves on. Because of this and because of Colletti’s continuing and confusing reluctance to let Uribe go, I fully expect that the Dodgers will yet again play another season with a 24-man roster instead of a 25-man roster, as Uribe will once again be occupying a roster spot as nothing more than an $8 million cheerleader – but hey, he’s a great clubhouse guy.
Enter Mark McGwire.
Although I have no way to substantiate it (not yet, at least), I am willing to bet a pulled pork sandwich at Camelback Ranch that McGwire has already been told (for lack of a better word) that Juan Uribe is to be among his top priorities at spring training, or perhaps even that the Dodgers expect McGwire to somehow miraculously make Uribe the hitter that he once was; but here again, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” and expecting McGwire to accomplish in six weeks what no one (including the great Manny Mota) has been able to accomplish in two years is, quite frankly, unreasonable. To further this point, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see McGwire held accountable (i.e. blamed) for Uribe’s continuing failures rather than Colletti accepting (or even acknowledging) responsibility that the Uribe signing is clearly one of his worst free agent signings ever (stay for Andruw Jones and Jason Schmidt, of course).
No matter how much responsibility-shirking or blaming Colletti does or how much tap dancing Mattingly does, 2013 will be Uribe’s last stand.