Uribe Trade is Shear Idiocy

The trade of infielders and pitchers between the Dodgers and the Braves that was made, unmade, and made again, is beyond stupid and borders on the machinations of lunacy. In the deal as now reported, the Dodgers are sending third baseman Juan Uribe and pitcher Craig Withrow to Atlanta for journeyman infielder Alberto Callaspo and pitchers Eric Stults, Ian Thomas and Juan Jaime.

Uribe has been the Dodgers' primary starting third baseman over most of the last four-five seasons, and when healthy, has been an outstanding all-around performer, hitting, getting key, clutch hits, and providing gold-glove caliber defense. Before the Dodgers, he was on world championship teams with the White Sox and Giants. Just last season, he hit a career-best .311.

But the Dodgers are investing bundles of money
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on Cuban-refugee infielders, and the powers-that-be seem to be clearing out productive and popular players, so the likes of stone-gloved Alex Guerrero and sick-and-injured Hector Olivera, who between them are costing the team close to $100 Million, can have room to infiltrate the roster and the lineup.

I’ve made my feelings known time and time again about these two – Guerrero could have a great career in the American League as a designated hitter, but will never play defense well enough to be an on-field regular. Olivera has a chronically bad elbow and a serious health disorder, and missed two of the last three full seasons because of these problems. The one season he managed to play about 70 games, in Cuba in 2013, he did not play in the field, but only as DH. They say he’s an excellent defensive player at both second and third, but I will believe it when I see it.

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Even worse for the Dodgers is the inclusion of Withrow in the deal. He's a 100 MPH stud who had just found his place in the Dodgers' bullpen as THE set up guy for Kenley Jansen - and as eventually a closer himself - when early last season he suffered the infamous UCL elbow tear, and he has missed the past year recovering from Tommy John surgery. He is due back late this season, but unfortunately that will now be to the Braves' bullpen, and not the Dodgers'.

Journeyman Callaspo has been handed starting jobs in Kansas City, with the Angels, in Arizona and in Oakland, and has quickly lost that job at every stop. Early in his career he hit fairly well, but dropped to .223 last season, and is currently at .206.

Jaime is a 27-year-old right handed reliever who in parts of two seasons with the Braves has compiled a 5.98 ERA and has walked almost one batter per inning. He spent most of last season in the minors, where he walked 36 in 43 innings, so his major league control problems are no surprise. Thomas is a 28-year-old lefty reliever with slightly better control, walking only 11 over 16 major league innings with an ERA slightly under 4.00, also over parts of two seasons.

And then there is the “prize” of the deal, lefty starter Eric Stults. Stults is 35 and first came to the majors with the Dodgers back in 2006. Over parts of four seasons in LA, he was 8-10 with an ERA over 5.00. He then spent some time with the White Sox and the Rockies, before three seasons in the Padres rotation, going 27-33. With the Braves this season, however, he has started nine games and is 1-5 with a 5.85 ERA. Lifetime, he’s 36-48.

My guess is that Callaspo will never play a game for the Dodgers, but that for now Guerrero and Justin Turner will divide time at third base, and in four to eight weeks either Olivera will be given the job, or if he shows in the minors that he is not up to the task, then it will be time for the club to bring up their top minor league prospect, Corey Seager, who has just now been shifted from shortstop to third base in Triple-A.

This deal is just plain stupid for the Dodgers,
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unless of course Stults becomes a star in the rotation and wins 15 or more the rest of the way. Anyone interested in that bet?

Finally, former Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp, who started the season red hot but who had been in a recent slump, broke a 10th-inning 0-0 tie last night with a two-out, bases-loaded, three-run double, and the Padres went on to beat the Angels 4-0.

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