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Juan Uribe: How He Could Do That To Us

I’m going to play telepathic for a moment and read your collective minds: “If he had to leave, WHY DID HE HAVE TO GO TO THE DODGERS???”

He went to the Dodgers for the same reason Kevin Brown, Darren Dreifort, Rafael Furcal, Shawn Green, Jason Schmidt, and more recently, Hiroki Kuroda and Man-Ram went to (or stayed with) the Dodgers—their home ballpark has spectacular views.


It was the classic massive Dodger overpayout. Juan Uribe hit the slots and came back with three cherries. He would have been a fool not to take the Dodgers’ $21 million and run. Even Bill Neukom would have been incredulous. “He turned down what? Obviously he’s not as smart as we gave him credit for.”

So don’t fault him, Giants fans.

I know it stings—for a number of reasons. There’s the historical tie to a beloved ex-Giant from a beloved era (late cousin Jose Uribe). There’s the issue of how Uribe came to be a Giant—swiped off the scrap heap for pennies on the dollar, just the type of success story that tends to win over San Franciscans. The Giant fanbase has a soft reputation—arguably deserved—but it’s always rooted for hard workers, those who grinded, those who fought for their chance and didn’t squander it. Or, to be succinct: underdogs, which the Giants have almost always been since coming to San Fran (don’t worry; I’m not here to talk about the past).

Then there’s Uribe’s on-field success isolated—cuts so mighty, even those that draw air excite the spectators. Majestic (to quote Jon Miller) home runs that always seemed to ice a victory. 6-3 putouts from deep in the hole, made possible only because of Uribe’s phenomenal arm strength. He never had a full-time position, yet he never aired a public complaint. There are guys who can’t handle shuffling around; Uribe was not one of them.

Finally, Uribe’s loss is causing pain because Uribe himself can cause pain. This guy is, by all accounts, a physically powerful person—one you do not want mad at you at any time. Past Giants teams have been businesslike, and not having a “junkyard dog” hurt them at times. Uribe helped alter that image in 2010…and now he’s a Dodger. Oh, there are still a few G-Men not afraid to mix it up but Uribe was the first line of defense. Now that he’s shifted allegiances within the division, not only is he no longer protecting us—we’re just a couple of errant fastballs away from needing protection from him. That does NOT sit well.

It is hard for us, as outsiders, to see beyond the cosmetic side of this transaction. We see “our” shortstop leaving a World Championship team for a 4th place team whose upper management is in total disarray and whose lower management is inexperienced. We see him leaving his “family”, the people who love him, for our worst enemy. It’s like we the fans never mattered to him at all. We feel cheated for having loved him, never knowing he’d turn on us like he turned on those juicy servings at Wrigley Field in September.

But Uribe is not in a position to be loyal. He’s 32 years old, and he knows he will NEVER see cash like that thrown his way again. This is his one chance to financially secure at least a couple more generations of Uribes. An opportunity like this—especially for someone from the Dominican Republic where opportunities to get rich legally are sparse—he almost had no choice but to jump at it.

Sure, he could have accepted the Giants’ offer of arbitration, but what if he blows out his knee next year? The Giants would have no use for him then, and he’d be but a pleasant memory. That’s the business side of MLB. Juan Uribe is not a stupid man. He’s just a man trying, as President Bush once said, to put food on his family.

Still bitter? Remember the last prominent Giant who went all 1741 on us: the aforementioned Schmitty. The Dodgers ended up paying Schmidt $45 million to make 10 starts—winning 3 and hurling 43 innings. We swore we’d never forgive our former ace, yet letting him go turned out to be the non-move of the year! Yeah, the Giants blew even more money on Zito. But at least Zito is healthy and taking his regular turns! In 3 years we could be very happy the Dodgers overspent for Juan—especially if we’ve used that $ to keep Lincecum, Matt Cain and Brian Wilson in the fold come free agency.

Now, our former hero must live with his choice to turn down free sustenance for life in San Francisco just for $21 lousy million. JD

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I've been a Giants' fan since 1990; I still remember my first game at Candlestick as if it were yesterday (Robby Thompson homered and the Giants downed Houston 7-3). Pushed for us to get that elusive championship and at last we GOT IT! You can see me on the softball field every week sporting my orange and black, and I'm raising my little girl to not follow in her A's-fan-mom's footsteps!

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In response to “Juan Uribe: How He Could Do That To Us”

  1. Tony Nov 30 201010:29 pm


    Maybe the decision was easier considering the giants made a last minute offer to prove his worth. So dont talk smack that the Dodgers over paid when the giants decided to grow a pair last minute.

  2. joseph davis Dec 1 201012:23 am


    Smack? I’m only sharing fact. The Dodgers spent more on Uribe than probably anyone else would have. Uribe is a good player, but he’s not a $21 million player. I’m not putting L.A. down for it. It’s what they do and it’s what they’ve done for years. If the Giants managed to keep him for that price, I’d be saying we overpaid, too.

    As for the Giants “growing a pair”, my guess is that behind closed doors they’re not unhappy Uribe didn’t take their offer. Teams do that often in the name of PR. It wasn’t fear that prevented them from offering big bucks sooner. It was fiscal responsibility, needed given the number of free agent busts the Giants have signed in recent years.

    1. Christopher Rowe Dec 1 20107:10 am


      Not smack, it’s business. The businss of baseball is … “to put food on his family…”… well put President Bush!… you always know what to say… “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice… then I’m twice as shamed because you… are the fool following the fool and reading My Pet Goat…?” I digress…

      I’m not a Giannts or Dodgers fan but I’m glad to see the Dodgers pulling a Yankees act and overpaying to take a player away from their longtime rivals. This type of move is of course as overinflated as the $21 million deal Uribe took, but there it is. It works for Uribe and Jason Schmidt and Johnny Damon and Roger Clemens but not for Jackie Robinson. Maybe if enough teams like the Dodgers and Yankees try to overpay for championships, it will counterbalance the fact that the rest of baseball is not willing/able to overpay for talent?

      Uribe is a talent but he also had a career year at age 32. Do you really think he will continue his torrid play in Chavez Ravine? Bless him if he does and caveat emptor to the Dodgers if he doesn’t. Gnerations of Uribes are cheering but we’ll see what Dodger fans do.

      Nice work as always Joseph

      1. DodgersKings323 Dec 1 201011:56 am


        Overpay for certain players is what i think you’re saying, because surely you aren’t trying to compare Dodgers $90-120Mil payroll the last few years with the Yankee $200+………

  3. Tony Dec 1 201011:13 am


    Juan Uribe being matched by the Giants say something about his worth in this Market. Is he worth the 21 million? No, but if he fills a gap in the Dodgers infield which they have and can hit another 20 + homeruns he’s worth something to the Dodgers. Tejada to the Giants? Thats a down grade. Bottom line I dont think anyone is worth 8 million dollars a year. It’s strictly business. The Dodgers dont have to win a championship for the business of the Ddogers to be profitable. I’m a die hard Dodgers fan but reality is I think this is a plot by Mc court to put a reason for fans to go back to buy tickets to pay off his debt. Other side is you can’t deny that L.A’s 1-5 pitching is good on paper and any of 5 could start for any team out there..maybe Garland a #2 guy. He was opening day starter for the Padres.

    In any case…LOVE THAT THE RIVALRY IS ALIVE AGAIN! Dodgers are appearing to do what they can to knock off the giants and take the division again. People are talking. Good for California good for both teams. With that said. I HATE THAT THE GIANTS ARE THE CHAMPIONS! Congrats though.

    1. DodgersKings323 Dec 1 201011:57 am


      Exactly, being competitive sells tickets, that’s all he wants. If he were serious he would spend more money and/or dumb that stooge Colletti.

  4. DodgersKings323 Dec 1 201011:54 am


    It’s called money, i’m laughing at the people even seem the tiny bit surprised by this. Also you should be laughing because the Dodgers did overpay and probably tacked on an extra year…..that’s how it is now days, but i’m not even old enough to remember when this was a real rivalry so i don’t really care if they were ex-Giants.

    1. Tony Dec 1 201012:28 pm


      I forgot I hated the Giants. For a while I was hating the Padres more. In all..yes they over paid. They have the money to over pay can’t fault them for that. Giants tried to over pay him but they couldn’t close it. But if you have the money to spend why not. I’d rather see them over pay on players then to keep buying mansions. The yankees over pay ever year and how many championships have they won in the last 10 years? 1? The teams that can over pay will. Giants are paying a stupid amount for Zito who didn’t even start in the world series. I’m having fun. Lots of blogs going back and forth. I’d love to see the focus out here. Baseball shouldn’t revolve around boston, new york or the phillies.

      1. Christopher Rowe Dec 1 20101:11 pm


        Well it seems like there is a clamoring for more competition amongst baseball teams. Sadly, it is generally true that those teams who can spend the most money are most competitive. Boston, Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, both Chicagos, Texas, etc. Even Mimmesota will exceed a 100 million dollar payroll for the first itme ever. San Diego came close this year with not a lot of payroll and we’ve seen recent years where Tampa or the Twins managed. Oddly enough, the Giants this year made it with a dichotemy of players who were paid a lot of money to NOT play – such as Guillen or Zito while guys like Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell and Buster Posey trore it up. Most of those latter players incurred payroll from teams other than the Giants and/or were bargain basement production for San Francisco!

        So while spending a lot of money doesn’t guarantee winners, it is VERY difficult if not impossible to win without it. Look at Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Washington/Montreal and other fracnhises who refuse to invest in their players. When was the last time they were even relevant?

  5. Joseph Davis Dec 1 20102:28 pm


    Chris: Well, in Guillen’s case KC was paying most of his salary.

    DodgersKing: I, for one, am not surprised Uribe left. The whole theme of my original article was explaining WHY he left to those feeling betrayed by his departure. I AM surprised the Giants didn’t fight harder and sooner to keep him, but with Tejada at least we’re not naked at the position.
    Remember, my blog title was NOT “How Could He Leave Us.” It was “How He Could Leave Us.”

    Tony: The Yankees’ overpayment, pound-for-pound, isn’t the league’s worst. They have All-Stars at almost every position making All-Star money. Most of those guys are making market value but the payroll’s bloated because they’re all in one lineup. (Of course I think anything more than $10 mil is overpayment to anybody but that’s another article.)
    As for McCourt, if he wanted to reduce debt I think the easiest way would be to not hand out expensive multiyear deals to ordinary players. Juan Uribe won’t sell tickets and he alone will not put LA back in contention…but that’s just me.

    But you are right: reviving the rivalry is goooood.

    1. Tony Dec 1 20102:44 pm


      Joseph: Pound for Pound they’re paying market value for stars. But it’s not a team. Giants had unity and thats why they won. Miami Heat aren’t a team but they have all stars. All the money in the world wont buy championships. Anything less then a championship is failure and the yankees have failed more then the Dodgers or any other big market team has for there payroll.

      1. Joseph Davis Dec 1 20102:52 pm


        Agreed. Money gives you a better chance but is hardly a guarantee. What’s interesting: that 20 other teams in baseball would kill to have the Yankees “failures”.

        Part of why the Yankees win is not because THEY have all the stars, it’s also that the teams they’re playing against DO NOT have those stars anymore. Cleveland would surely fare better if they still had Sabathia, for example. If Nick Swisher is still in green and gold, and going yard for them rather than the Yankees, all their games have different results…and ultimately their seasons do too.

        1. Christopher Rowe Dec 1 20107:36 pm


          Absolutely… imagine if baseball were the kind of business where teams could afford to invest in their own prospects rather than lose them in a Rotisserie auction with virtually unlimited funds for half a dozen teams?

          Cleveland would have never lost Manny Ramirez, Victor Martinez, Jim Thome, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Brian Giles and could pair them with Grady Sizemore, Fausto Carmona and Travis Hafner

          Toronto would still have Halladay…crickets… and Jose Bautista…OK fine and Vernon Wells…

          Montreal would have won 3 championships and might still be the Expos with Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, Moises Alou and John Wettland

          Oakland… my God it would be like the championship dynasty of 1972-1974 all over again… Hudson, Mulder, Zito, Giambi, Chavez, Swisher paired with Braden, Bailey, Tejada, etc.

          However, I still contend that in order to contend, most teams HAVE to keep pace with the teams who are spending money. Ergo, if there were a way to slow down the Yankees spending, it would help to bridge the gap between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots.” I feel like there are two Major Leagues. Not AL and NL rather “spending” and “non-spending.” 10 maybe 12 teams have a realistic shot to compete in a given season while the other 18 begin the season knowing they have no real hope – because they have an essentially minor league team!

          Players are signing 25 and 30 million dollar contracts and while I don’t disparage the concept of the free market, there is no way that 30 teams can maintain a 200 million dollar payroll and expect to stay fiscally sound.

          Surely there has to be an answer. There’s always an answer – and don’t call me Shirley! Love ya Leslie Nielsen. We’ll all miss ya, Enrico Polazzo!

  6. Joseph Feeney Apr 12 201112:20 am


    Logical or not, Uribe is a hell of a guy and we will miss him.

    Having now said that Uribe will eternally burn in hell along with all other Dodger scum.


  7. Tony Apr 12 201112:43 am


    Yeah, because the despicable act of 2 makes all Dodger fans scum. That generalization could be a longer list for the Giants. Conrats on the Ring. I’m jealous, but i’m not a fan that would go get physical on a rival fan because simply your a Giants fan. It was wrong but don’t mistake all other Dodger fans for the act of 2 low lifes. We are embarrassed. But not ashamed to say we are Dodger fans. Believe me, in every ball park there are enough of idiots to go around. Having said that a hell of a game tonight!

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