You know I’ve been generally kind on the new brain trust front office. Despite some of the moves they’ve made that have not worked out. (for example, signing a mediocre pitcher with a history of injuries for 48 million dollars). If Ned Colletti had made that signing people would have thrown him under the bus.
This time around, I am going to talk some smack. I was waiting for the Juan Uribe trade to become official, or at least for it to develop enough so we knew who we were getting back in return for our beloved portly third baseman. Now that we know the players involved in the trade, I am not pleased.
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The Dodgers have traded Juan Uribe to the Atlanta Braves in a six-player deal. The trade is still pending approval from the commissioner’s office. Originally the rumors were that the Braves might have been receiving a top pitching prospect back (Zach Lee, Chris Anderson), but that turned out to be a red herring. Thankfully Lee, and Anderson were not involved. That’s a good thing.
However the trade these heartless nerds made is one of the most atrocious trades I have ever seen. I understand several things. I understand that Hector Olivera, the Cuban infielder is coming up soon, and the Dodgers need to clear roster space. I understand that Uribe is older, and doesn’t offer as much value on the field as some of the younger players do. I understand the Dodgers already have Alex Guerrero, and Justin Turner in a crowded third base scenario. I understand this is a move made with the Dodger’s best interest for the future.
But if it’s just a roster spot dump, then they could have just DFA’d him. It probably would have been better for everyone involved. The Dodgers don’t get a bum starting pitcher, They don’t get a lousy utility guy to stink up the bench, and the club doesn’t get two low level prospects that will never reach the majors in our lifetime. Plus perhaps the Dodgers could have kept Uribe on in a different capacity.
Ok maybe the low level prospects never reaching the majors in our lifetime statement is a bit harsh. To be fair I don’t know enough about the two prospects to say that with authority. Although, I do know they are not top top level prospects.
The Dodgers are getting back 27-year old right hander Juan Jaime. He’s pitched 18 major league games, and has a career 3.12 minor league ERA. A 12.9 career strikeout per nine rate in the minors is good, but a 6.3 walks per nine rate is bad. He’s struck out 19 at the big league level, and walked 13. So obviously he’s got some control problems. He’s been used as a reliever primarily, and throws extremely hard. Typically for a young flame thrower, he has issues with command and location.
The second pitching prospect in return is 28-year old Ian Thomas. He’s a Norfolk native that has appeared in 21 big league games with similar numbers as Jaime. He’s posted a 3.94 ERA/3.76 FIP at the major leave level, with a 10.1 strikeout per nine rate, and 6.2 walks per nine rate. He has an 18K/11/BB line in 16 major league innings. In the minors he put up a 2.46 ERA, with a 10.7 strikeout per nine rate, and a 3.2 walks per nine rate. He’s a big lefty, and throws hard as well.
Call to the Pen
Neither pitcher is ranked within the Brave’s top 20 prospects. Factor in their age, and these guys probably have a ticket to Tulsa written all over them. Or maybe they get traded themselves for draft picks. The brain trust has been known to do stuff like this.
The Dodgers are also getting back former Dodger, and veteran right hander Eric Stults. I don’t know what they plan on doing with Stults, but I would imagine he goes right into the starting rotation, and Carlos Frias gets sent back to the minors. Or maybe not. That’s just speculation on my part. I don’t know, but one thing I do know, is Stults is horrendous. We’ve seen Stults before. This year the 35-year old left hander is 1-5 with a 6.34 ERA/5.62 FIP. He’s struck out 30 and walked 13 in 44 innings pitched. In eight starts he’s given up 9.6 hits per nine, and ten home runs. Ten! Stults is so far over the hill he can’t see past it. He’s so far past his prime he makes Terry Mulholland blush. If you remember, he last pitched for the Dodgers from 2006-2009. Sure he has pitched decent at Dodger Stadium over his career, (7-7 3.88 ERA), but that doesn’t mean much. Is he better than Carlos Frias? No.
Then there is Alberto Callaspo himself. He’s a 32-year old switch-hitting utility infielder. Originally he had vetoed the trade, stating that he didn’t want to play on the west coast. Then he changed his mind. I’m guessing the Braves talked him into to it. Because Callaspo was recently signed as a free agent, he was ineligible to be traded before June 15 without his consent.
Good Luck in Atlanta Uribe-Photo from BleedBlue Diehards
Callaspo just isn’t very good anymore. He has a career .265 average, with a .328 OBP and 52 Major League home runs. He’s a light hitting utility guy with no power. He did hit .300 with an .863 OPS and 173 hits in 634 plate appearances for Kansas City back in 2009. That was a long time ago, and he doesn’t bring much value anymore. He has a 52 OPS+ this year, and a -0.4 WAR. He’s not even worth one win these days. Overall he’s slashed .206/.293/.252 (22 for 107) with one home run for Atlanta. Not somebody I want on my bench.
To complete the trade the Dodgers will be sending Atlanta right hander Chris Withrow. As if this trade isn’t bad enough, the Dodgers have to throw in a good reliever and all around great guy. Withrow is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, but is expected to return in the second half.
I know you are going to roll your eyes at me, but Uribe brings more to the table than just a 36-year old bench guy. The Dodgers are not just losing his stellar defense at third base, but they are also losing his valuable clubhouse presence. That may elicit an eye roll from the stat guys, but you can’t deny that he was the clubhouse leader. Now that is gone.
As for Atlanta this trade makes more sense from their standpoint. The club is rebuilding, and they’ve gotten little to no production from their current third base crop. This gives them a recognizable name with some power to play at third base. Uribe will of course give them his trademark good defense. My guess is he splits time with Pedro Ciriaco for the rest of the season.
What’s the solution here? The Dodgers should have just released Uribe, and then offered him a position as a coach. That way you keep him within the organization, and within the clubhouse to help mold the younger players. Now the Dodgers have lost his experience and wisdom.
The fans have lost a favorite as well. This means no more Uribe Wednesdays, no more empanada jokes, no more fun. I wanted Uribe to stay with the Dodgers because if they do win the World Series this season, then I wanted Uribe to be a part of that. Now, he won’t be. We’ll never forget that incredible moment he gave us in the 2013 NLDS that saved us from an early playoff exit. We’ll never forget his jazz hands. We’ll never forget his unique personality.
What an ignominious ending to Uribe’s Dodger career. We’ll miss you big papi.
Photo credit-BleedBlue Diehards