The Los Angeles Dodgers will be returning to the status quo in 2014, inking incumbent third baseman Juan Uribe to a two-year contract worth $15 million. The 34-year old Uribe had spent the last three seasons in Los Angeles, making $21 million over those three seasons.
But over the first two years of the deal, Uribe was widely considered a disappointment. Neither his on-base or slugging percentages cracked .300 in either 2011 or 2012, and with his batting average hovering around .200, there was a belief that the Dodgers might simply eat his salary for 2013 and walk away. However, Uribe came up big for the Dodgers last year, hitting .278/.331/.438 with 12 homers and fantastic defense at third base. Uribe also hit the Dodgers into the NLCS, smashing a go-ahead two-run homer off of Atlanta's David Carpenter in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the NLDS to put the Dodgers ahead.
The infield market was very weak this winter, and Uribe seemed likely to return to Los Angeles despite some initial skepticism. With Uribe off of the market, any team needing a third baseman is going to need to either look to the trade market or explore possibilities that aren't exactly palatable on an every day basis, like Eric Chavez and Yuniesky Betancourt.