Aubrey Huff

Dodgers sign Uribe, will Giants counter with Jeter?

The saddest thing about this that Juan Uribe’s departure kind of changes the end of the victory parade, at least for me. After watching the procession at 4th and Market, we tried to hike over to the incredibly packed Civic Center to see what was going on. Of course, with a pretty small projection screen that wasn’t visible from three blocks away, we couldn’t tell if anything was going on at all, so we walked around for a little bit before I had to go back to work.

People were beyond intoxicated at that point. Clouds rose to the sky (pictured, to the right of the guy standing on the “NO Parking” sign), people were swinging from tree branches, empty bottles in paper bags littered Larkin Street. Par for the course. But what struck me was that not only was “UUUUUU … REEEBAY!!!” an extremely popular chant in the aftermath of the parade, but it was THE most popular chant. It makes sense that “Let’s Go Giants” wouldn’t carry the same weight in that situation, because, let’s face it, the Giants already went and won. Nothing else to do anymore.

But I remember thinking it oddly precarious (in a fan-memory sense) that everyone was chanting for a guy who had a good chance of not playing for the Giants next season. Now Giants fans are going to have to destroy their vocal cords yelling something like “TIIII … MMMYYYYYYY” OR “POHHHH … ZEEEEEEEE” next year, because Juan Uribe has agreed to a 3-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Championship teams are always raided in the following off-season, but usually not exclusively by their chief rival. At least if you believe the rumors that the team that made the offer to Aubrey Huff that the Giants supposedly matched was also the Fightin’ McCourts.

Rekindling their rivalry with San Francisco still seems like a strange reason to give Uribe a third year just so he can play second base full-time. First Jeff Kent, now Uribe, what’s next? Are the Dodgers going to sign Freddy Sanchez once the Giants are tired of him, too? It’s like the Dodgers are intent on sticking it to the Giants ever since Bruce Bochy treated Don Mattingly like a little brother who forgot to say “UNO” with only one card in his hands while playing … UNO.

Unless Emmanuel Burriss or Brandon Crawford dip into Mark Sweeney’s old HGH stash the Giants are going to need to procure a starting shortstop. Whether that means spending all their playoff earnings on Derek Jeter (which would probably make Gary Radnich do one of those Ozzie Smith cartwheel-handspring things, he’d be so excited), trading for a guy like Jason Bartlett or signing Miguel Tejada or Uribe’s mortal enemy, Orlando Cabrera, the options don’t look too attractive.

However, let me interrupt the post-World Series sentimentality to mention that the Giants were on borrowed time with Uribe. The guy hit .248 with a .310 OBP in 2010, and had an OPS of .473. The Dodgers will find that Uribe can crush mistake breaking balls, but hasn’t caught up to a decent fastball in a loooonnnnggg time. And whatever combination of Uribe, Pablo Sandoval and Edgar Renteria that handled shortstop and third base last season, isn’t that a whole lot of pot bellies on the left side of the infield?

What this does is effectively destroy the chances of my Giants pipe dream coming true: signing Carl Crawford. Granted, it was a ridiculous idea in the first place, seeing as the Giants only give out huge deals like that when they’re bidding against themselves. But whatever money the franchise had earmarked for bettering the team outside of giving Huff and Cody Ross their raises will now move to the shortstop position.

The Giants and Mr. Jeter

The chances that the Giants would sign Jeter rose from 0.00001% to at least 1% today. And I can’t shake the thought that this is closer to happening than I could have ever imagined a few weeks ago.

The Giants have shown that while they like to win, they LOVE to celebrate milestones. You’d think they’d have enough stored video highlights and outfield wall space to celebrate the 2010 World Championship every single home game next year, but you can never toot your horn enough.

Barry Bonds isn’t quite the same situation, since he played in San Francisco for 15 years. But the Giants already showed they were more than willing to overpay for a hollow milestone (Randy Johnson’s 300th win, which poetically occurred at a road game against the Nationals after a rain delay), and Jeter is 74 hits away from 3,000 in his career. While 300 wins is a much rarer achievement from now on, 3,000 hits provides many more opportunities to sell tickets (and jack up prices). Once Jeter reaches 69 hits this season, it’s possible he could reach 3,000 hits in any of the following 10 games or so.

Can’t you just picture the press conference now? Jeter, saying all the right things about the historical importance of the Giants’ organization, their young pitching and winning atmosphere. Brian Sabean, talking about Jeter’s “pedigree that speaks for itself,” the physical that told the Giants’ medical staff that Jeter’s in the best physical shape of his career, and how this signing shows the Giants’ continued commitment to winning and “playing the right way.”

Would the Giants consider giving Jeter a ridiculous contract in hopes that he’d revert back to 2009 form after a mediocre 2010 at the plate and ever-diminishing range, just so they could sell tickets, put a marquee name in their ad campaigns and stick it to the Dodgers? While I’m pretty sure they’ll just sign Tejada, after the World Series win it’s hard to be sure about anything regarding the Giants these days.

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