While Pitchers and Catchers reported for Spring Training earlier this week, the Cleveland Indians were not done making final adjustments to their roster. On Friday afternoon, the Indians signed veteran IF Juan Uribe to a 1 year deal worth over $4 million. The Indians plan on having Uribe fill in the role at 3B after Giovanny Urshela struggled offensively last year. While I do have a lot of problems here with this signing, in fairness to the Indians we're going to give Tribe fans a fair analysis of the Indians signing Uribe with the Pros and Cons of the Indians latest move.
- He's a significant downgrade defensively- When Juan Uribe makes multiple errors at 3B this year, don't come complaining to me. While he does have a career .970 fielding percentage at 3B (which to the naked eye is good), comparing the number of games he's played at 3B with some of the greatest fielding 3B in the game's history is ridiculous. Uribe has played in a fraction of the games at 3B they played. Plus a reminder of his days in Chicago, I remember looking at him as a comparison for Jhonny Peralta, he can hit but he can be a liability defensively. I wouldn't rely on Uribe to play gold glove defense that Urshela offered, I would instead brace for the problems we complained about defensively at 3B last year before Urshela.
- Uribe's numbers at Progressive Field are horrible- In 37 games, Uribe at Progressive Field is hitting .180 avg with 4 HRs, 17 RBIs, and a .206 OBP. Bottom line is Uribe has never had success at Progressive Field and that's not a good sign for a guy you're paying $4 million to be an offensive upgrade. The argument could be made here that last year, Brandon Moss was known to hit very well at Progressive Field and that really didn't help. Only time will tell if Uribe's struggles at Progressive Field are for real or not, but at first glance...this is questionable.
- There were more pressing needs- My opinion has always been about 3B, it's a defensive position first. If you can hit, that's a bonus. That's why the Royals stuck with Mike Moustakas through his hitting struggles and more importantly that's the biggest trait for every great 3B in the game today (Arenado, Machado, Beltre, Seager). All the top 3B in the league are outstanding defenders. The Indians had one in Giovanny Urshela, but are choosing offense over defense. The Indians could've found that offense at a biggest position of need, the Outfield.