Uribe was the Dodgers’ primary target to fill the position after a productive 2013 season. He batted .278/.331/.438 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs, and was a finalist for the National League Gold Glove Award at third base. Uribe has been praised by teammates and coaches for his character and leadership during the past three seasons in Los Angeles, even in the midst of his colossal struggles in 2011 and 2012.
But he’d rejected multiple contract offers since the season ended, forcing general manager Ned Colletti to consider his alternatives in a weak free agent crop. There weren’t many.
“We may have to mix and match a little bit,” Colletti said Saturday morning at a charity event in South Los Angeles.
Should Uribe’s new contract become official, the Dodgers may have their 2014 Opening Day infield in place by mid-December: Uribe at third base, Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, Adrian Gonzalez at first base and rookie Alexander Guerrero — if he’s ready — at second.
The Dodgers still would like to add to their bullpen, particularly a left-hander and a long reliever, and possibly a starting pitcher as insurance for pitchers Chad Billinsgley and Josh Beckett. Both are attempting to return from season-ending surgeries.
But Uribe was the Dodgers’ key remaining in-house free agent and, potentially, their most expensive target still on the market.