Feeling completely underwhelmed by the Dodgers’ trade of Juan Uribe
Liking that Juan Uribe trade? Just a little? Not particularly? Absolutely not at all?
Let’s face it, it appears to be a stunningly unimpressive trade and perhaps you’re wondering if the Dodgers’ brain trust, which has admittedly put together an intriguing, well-balanced lineup, hasn’t finally outsmarted itself.
Because if you look at the six-player trade, the best two players are going from the Dodgers to the Braves. In most circles, the team that gets the two best players wins the trade.
On Wednesday, Atlanta got Juan Uribe, most assuredly a better player than Alberto Callaspo, and right-hander Chris Withrow, a former No. 1 draft pick who throws serious heat. The Braves immediately started Uribe on Wednesday against the Dodgers and batted him fifth.
With the Dodgers, Uribe had been relegated to being almost the third-string third baseman and is 36 years old, and Withrow is coming back from Tommy John surgery, so it’s not like the roster has been depleted.
But coming back from Atlanta is Callaspo, who hasn’t done anything the last two seasons; left-hander Ian Thomas, who had appeared in only five games and who the Dodgers immediately sent to triple-A; right-hander Juan Jaime, who’s floated around the minors for 10 years and who the Dodgers could simply have claimed last month when he was designated for assignment and cleared waivers; and former Dodger Eric Stults, who they immediately designated for assignment.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, said Uribe wanted to play every day -- and what player doesn’t? -- though he admitted that, knowing Uribe’s personality, the veteran would not have been a clubhouse issue if he had not been traded.
Friedman explained that Callaspo is a better bench fit because he’s a switch-hitter and able to play second, third and first. He said with Andre Ethier playing every day against right-handers and Carl Crawford on the disabled list, the Dodgers could use another left-handed bat off the bench.
Which is all true, of course, but would be more so if Callaspo was actually any good, and he’s not. He looks like bench fodder.
Stults could clear waivers and still end up at triple-A, but he’s 35 and only 1-5 with 5.85 earned-run average, so if he ends up in the rotation, the Dodgers are in trouble. Jaime lights up the radar gun but has had control issues throughout his career. He pitched in 1 1/3 innings in April, walked four and was designated.
The best bet is probably Thomas. Friedman said the Dodgers had first expressed interest in him during spring training. A lifelong reliever, the Dodgers plan to try the 28-year-old as a starter.
All in all, I’d rather hang with Uribe and hope Withrow comes back well from surgery. Friedman said the Dodgers are blessed with plenty of right-handed relief prospects -- but maybe not like Withrow, who had been impressive in parts of two seasons.
Excited yet? Hey, not all trades prove significant. Some just move bodies around.
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