When Shane Victorino takes the field in Los Angeles, who will depart?
We’ll find out soon enough, but if you’re asking me now, I say Juan Uribe, contract and all.
Uribe has one plate appearance since July 22. He has been rendered mootational by the acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez and Victorino, the latter freeing Jerry Hairston Jr. to focus more on the infield.
Uribe is clearly the 25th man on the roster at this point, with Elian Herrera in the minors as a backup and Dee Gordon and Adam Kennedy both waiting in the wings to come off the disabled list later this month.
I don’t see any chance the Dodgers let Bobby Abreu go, despite his recent slump, because there’s still hope for him as a pinch-hitter. And while Tony Gwynn Jr., who is a Uribe-like 7 for 50 with four walks and one extra-base hit since July 1, doesn’t figure to have much of a role with the team now, I think the Dodgers still like him as a bench player.
The most likely alternative to cutting Uribe is that the Dodgers could follow the Herrera model and send down Luis Cruz to Albuquerque, given that Ramirez is planning to move to shortstop (at least until Gordon is activated). Since they essentially did this once before with Herrera, they could do it again, with Hairston serving as the backup shortstop while sharing third base with Uribe. But I’m just not quite believing it’s going to happen this time, not with Cruz slugging .474 in his past 14 games and playing steady defense. I think if the Dodgers still had plans for Uribe, he would have seen more than three innings of action in the past 10 days.
The Dodgers could make a move in the bullpen, but I think that will be independent of Victornio’s arrival. Ronald Belisario is certainly looking like a disabled list candidate – something seems wrong with the righty, who in his past 11 games has pitched 11 innings and allowed 11 runs. Shawn Tolleson could go down to Albuquerque, but he is on a streak of 4 2/3 consecutive hitless innings, which makes for an odd time to bid farewell to him for 10 days. Even Javy Guerra could conceivably be optioned. But any such move leaves the Dodgers with a six-man relief corps and Stephen Fife on the mound today, and even with Thursday’s off day, that doesn’t sound like the Dodgers I know. A reliever exit would likely bring a reliever return.
I know that it seems like the day of Uribe’s departure might never come, and maybe it won’t for another year. There are plenty of other options today. But here, almost exactly a year after the Dodgers parted ways with Dioner Navarro, I continue to think we’re drawing very, very close to it.