Sometimes, the pairing of a team and a player makes so much sense, it becomes a de facto rumor before a single reporter mentions it. There wasn't a rumor about Juan Uribe and the Giants. It just made sense. The Giants needed one more infielder, and there was an infielder on the market who had just happened to hit some of the most famous home runs in franchise history.
There wasn't a rumor (record scratch) until now.
The Giants have had discussions with Juan Uribe about a utility role, but the salary ask has been too expensive for them.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 5, 2016
Uribe was good enough to be a starter last year, and he's not wrong in thinking that he deserves one more shot as a starter for starter money. The problem for him is there is exactly one team that's looking for a starting third baseman right now, and that's the Indians, who probably aren't willing to pay millions and millions. Every other team is either set at third or is going with low-cost youth while they rebuild. Even worse for Uribe, David Freese is still a free agent, which gives the Indians an alternative.
And the Indians might not do a danged thing because they're the Indians. Which is their prerogative.
So Uribe will have to be a super-utility player, and he'll have to settle for super-utility prices, which comes out to about $3 million per year. That's what Willie Bloomquist got last season, and while we shan't compare the two as players, he's a useful proxy for "older utility player who has been around forever." Uribe got $6.5 million last year, and he hit 14 dingers while having a fine enough season. He probably doesn't think he's deserving of a pay cut, and, again, I don't blame him.
The season's coming up quickly, though. That price will probably drop, and now we have a rumor directly connecting Uribe to the Giants. We can speculate like silly people now.
Before getting too excited about the possibility of a reunion, the first question to ask is if Uribe fits the current roster. Last month, I was on board, and when I realized that Kelby Tomlinson was pretty okay at short in the minor leagues according to Baseball Prospectus' defensive numbers, it made even more sense. The Giants don't need a defense-first shortstop like Ehire Adrianza on the bench, not with a Gold Glover as the starter and a competent shortstop already penciled onto the roster. In the event of absolute calamity, the Giants also have Matt Duffy on the roster. The only reason he's not a shortstop is because Brandon Crawford exists.
Actually, what I'm doing is talking myself into Jim Thome on the bench.
But if the Giants are looking for an infielder with power to sit on the bench and take the key pinch-hitting moments, this is a mighty fine opportunity. They'll just have to hope Uribe's price drops. He'll be 37, too, so it's not like he's guaranteed to relive his glory years with the Giants, even in a reduced capacity. Still, he makes sense as a player, and he makes sense as a fan-friendly concept. Do you know how many times I would get to put these videos in a post that's only tangentially related to Juan Uribe?
All the time. I would get to do that all the time. That last one is not safe for work, but it's worth it.
Also, I would include those videos all the time. Hopefully the price drops to where the Giants feel comfortable enough to pounce.