FEB. 28, 11:27am: The Indians announced that the signing is official. He’ll earn a base salary of $4MM with another $1.5MM available via performance bonuses, as Jordan Bastian of MLB.com tweets.
FEB. 24, 7:34pm: Uribe’s base salary with the Indians is $4MM, Olney tweets. He can earn more via incentives.
5:31pm: Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets that the Indians are working through some visa issues with Uribe, and his contract is still pending a physical.
FEB. 19: The Indians have reached agreement on a deal with free agent third baseman Juan Uribe, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Uribe will earn just under $5MM in the deal, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports on Twitter.
This match-up has long been rumored, so the reports don’t come as much of a surprise. But there still may be a few days to wait for official word, as several reports suggest that Uribe will need some time to obtain visa clearance. He still needs to complete a physical to make the deal official.
Uribe will turn 37 in March, but he’s shown no signs of slowing down in recent years. Coming off of a pair of rough campaigns in 2011-12, Uribe has run off three consecutive stellar efforts. Over 1,227 plate appearances since, he owns a .281/.329/.432 slash with 35 home runs.
Of course, Uribe is known more for his glove — and dynamic clubhouse presence — than for his bat. Once a high-quality middle infielder, Uribe has settled in as a top-shelf third baseman in recent seasons. Both UZR and DRS saw a dip in his glovework last year, but he was still a firmly average option and may well have some big contributions left.
It remains to be seen just how heavily Cleveland will rely on the veteran, but odds are he’ll see plenty of action. The club still has 24-year-old Giovanny Urshela on hand, of course, and he showed a quality glove at the hot corner last year. He wasn’t much use at the plate, but did have a strong 2014 campaign at Triple-A and could certainly have some growth ahead of him.
A strict platoon between Uribe and Urshela doesn’t make immediate sense given that both hit from the right side. It could be, then, that the younger player heads off for more seasoning to start the year. Jose Ramirez, a switch-hitter who’s generally been better against right-handed pitching, could be the more promising part-time tandem piece for the Indians — particularly since he doesn’t figure to spend much time filling in up the middle with Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis locked into everyday roles.
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