I've been thinking of writing this for a couple weeks now, and of course, the people who actually get paid for this-- Andrew Baggarly of the Merc's Extra Baggs-- beat me to it.
Nonetheless, it's a legitimate take that many of us have had for a couple months now-- that is of course that Juan Uribe has been the team's second most valuable hitter; the SMVH.
Since he worked his way into steady playing time, Uribe has simply been marvelous in so many ways. The guy plays three positions fairly well and can do it at any time. Sure he boots a ball every now and then, but the sheer lineup flexibility he has afforded Bochy and the adhesive properties that he adds to this squad have far outweighed his 9 errors and range issues.
In addition, as Baggarly points out, the guy is a clubhouse delight, much like Sandoval is:
"He keeps the clubhouse loose. He interacts with everyone on the team, not just the Latino players. He has a special brand of humor that you can’t put into words."
So his teammates love him, he helps us out in the field... geez there was one other thing... God what was it? Hitting? Yeah, that sounds right. His hitting.
I remember Juan's days with the White Sox-- particularly 2005 when they won it all. My buddy had Extra Innings for dish and we both delighted in watching Hawk Harrelson, Darin Jackson and the White Sox whenever the Giants weren't on. Say what you will about the homers on the South Side, but they are hilarious and awesome and I won't take that back. I also remember Uribe's play; free swinging, cannon of an arm, flashing a big goofy grin on a fairly consistent basis.
In fact, while playing short for the Sox, Juan put up some sick numbers. From 2004 through 2007, he averaged 20 roundtrippers and 71 ribeye steaks. Not exactly A-Rod territory, but he was no slouch.
In comparison, another shortstop, someone you may have heard of, Edgar Renteria, averaged 11 HR and 67 RBI. Of course, Renteria's .291 average over that period was a full 40 points higher than Juan's, but still. It's ironic, because Renteria is the guy with the 2 year guaranteed deal worth $9MM per, and Uribe got a non-guaranteed deal worth one measly million during spring training.
More tangibly, Uribe has been a godsend in many games this year, especially since mid May. I mean, the guy only had 25 ABs in all of April. Now look at him. He's ranked #9 in Yahoo fantasy leagues in the last month (Bengie #146, Kung Fu #147) putting up gaudy figures (7 HR, 20 RBI, .357 avg, 1.090 OPS). I know fantasy baseball isn't a great indicator team success, but numbers are numbers and he's been keeping the ship afloat almost singlehandedly at times.
Granted, he's only hitting .214 with runners in scoring position this season, but he seems be constantly involved in rallies and random run production. Plus, whenever he hits a home run, I have to hit the replay button on my remote. They are just a thing of beauty.
What I guess I'm really trying to say is... RE-SIGN THIS GUY.
He deserves at least a 2 year deal worth $10MM. In a world where Renteria is making $9MM and Dave Roberts is making nearly that amount for watching TV, a guy like Uribe deserves it. And don't think for a second that other teams haven't noticed what he's done. He's an affordable bottle of glue and lightning that any team would love to have.
It is even more prudent that he returns due to health concerns of Freddy Sanchez. If indeed Sanchez does come back, the Gyros need infield insurance to help us all sleep at night. Plus this continues our lineup flexibility into 2010 and perhaps can give Renteria few days off (or force him more like it).
We were able to bring back the ooooooooo! reeee-baaaay! chant.
And you can't put a price tag on that.
PS: BRUTAL WILSON, BRUTAL.