Why is third base the Dodgers greatest need? What, you mean besides the fact that nearly all the evidence you can possibly require is right there before you in the photo above? That and a scale?

Why? I’ll tell you why. Oh, I’ll tell you why. Because whatever you think of the state of Los Angeles starting pitching, and more importantly, whatever you think of the incumbent at first base, the guy imitating a baseball player at the hot corner is the man on the Dodger roster least qualified to wear the uniform.

He can wear a Giants uni just fine, and if L.A. wants to just leave him in San Francisco after the series-ender tomorrow, you’ll get no argument from this quarter. Or any other, for that matter.

My harshness stems from the impatience I have with a professional athlete who, after an injury-plagued and ineffective season either cannot or will not improve on the conditioning he so clearly needs. The frustration magnifies when the season in question is the first for a player on a new team, and comes immediately after his being signed to a very generous contract.

Uribe got three years and $21 million prior to last season and managed all of four home runs, 28 RBIs and a .204 batting average in 77 games.

He came into spring camp this year claiming to have lost weight, but hesitant to admit to how much, or how little he’d taken off during the winter. Which means, quite obviously, that while Uribe should have made every effort to lose 15 or 20 or 25 pounds, he shed something in the neighborhood of five or six or seven instead.

The result is more injuries and more of the same at the plate. .217, with one whole homer and 12 RBIs.

The Dodgers are keeping him around for two reasons. Uribe’s back-loaded contract calls for him to be paid $12 million between the midway point of the current campaign, which is next Tuesday, and the end of 2013.

The club is also holding out hope that their third baseman can make something of his 2012 season, and they’d probably settle for a .240 average, 10 homers and 35 RBIs the rest of the way if they could get it.

If they determine the likelihood of it happening are somewhere between slim (a word rarely associated with Juan Uribe) and none, the Dodgers might just go ahead and eat the contract (with eat being a word commonly associated with Juan Uribe). And probably over the next coupla weeks.

I’ve already made my case for Chase Headley, and Jon Heyman has since reported that the Padres will listen to offers for their third baseman. The more I think about Headley, and with every Uribe at bat, the closer I get to the notion that the Dodgers need to make this deal happen. If it takes one of the team’s brightest pitching prospects, so be it. You can’t keep them all. And Headley is so worth it. Really, he is. The absolute perfect fit for Los Angeles.

As for Loney, well, we’ve all gotten used to the lack of power, and the Dodgers can live with that. There’s a greater chance of Loney heating up in the second half than there is of Uribe being even close to average. Plus there are right-handed alternatives for first base already in the organization, from Juan Rivera to Scott Van Slyke to Jerry Sands, if need be, so a platoon is easy enough to make official.

There’s nothing at third base but an over-sized, under-motivated Juan Uribe, who’s more prepared for a pink slip than he is for the low and outside curve he’ll no doubt strike out on come tonight’s first plate appearance.

Please follow me on Twitter @Howard_Cole

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The Dodgers have had this issue since Frank McCourt instructed Paul DePodesta to not resign Adrian Beltre because in DePodesta’s way of managing, he wasn’t “moneyball” enough.  So the Dodgers signed JD Drew instead.  Drew is now out of baseball and Adrian is third in the AL in batting average for the Texas Rangers.

June 26, 2012 2:36 pm

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 @prettyrose33 It’s been repeated many times, but the Dodgers’ offer on Drew was way higher than anyone else.  So, Scott Boras didn’t bother to even tell Beltre that the Dodgers had an offer on the table.  That way Boras got both his clients signed…Drew by LA and Beltre by Seattle.

June 26, 2012 2:52 pm

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Yeah the Dodgers way overpaid for Drew but thank God there was that out clause after two years and Drew took it.  The Dodgers offered if I am not mistaken, 3 years and 30 Million.  I think it was the Tigers or maybe Boston that offered 5 years and 90 Million but there was only a 48 hour window and Adrian wanted to stay on the West Coast so Seattle it was. 

June 26, 2012 2:56 pm

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Our greatest need is a general manager who can evaluate free agent talent.  The reason we have a “giant” hole at third base, other than the aforementioned Beltre debacle, is that Ned Colletti has done a horrible job.  He signed stiffs like Andruw Jones, Juan Uribe, Jason Schmidt, Bill Mueller, Manny II, and on and on and on.  These were given multi-year multi-million dollar contracts and they were physically unable to perform.   Then he also over paid by a factor of five for Juan Pierre, among others.
 
The only really good deal Ned ever made was trading Milton Bradley for Andre Ethier.  Of course, Ethier was a Texas League MVP and Ned had probably never seen him play and went on the word of his scouts instead of what he knew.
 
But, yes, after GM third base is far and away our greatest need.  Loney could have another bounce back second half, and as you mentioned Rivera, Van Slyke, and Sands can fill in.  The only guy we have on the team who even deserves to play the hot corner is Jerry Hairston, Jr., and he is 36 and couldn’t play their every day.
 
Getting a third baseman is a top priority, but who trusts Ned not to clean out the farm system in the process.  (Santana, McDonald, etc.)

June 26, 2012 3:02 pm

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currently for the hot corner, with smelling salts & a heater, number
42 / jackie robinson could play far better than this ned coletti transplant. 
 
 
 
 

June 26, 2012 3:06 pm

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Third base is going to be a problem I am afraid.  I just looked at the free agent list and it’s very slim pickings.  I agree the Ethier deal was Ned’s best move.  Getting Manny the first time was good too as well as the free agent signings of Jeff Kent and Derek Lowe, both not great clubhouse presences but both who did their jobs.

June 26, 2012 3:07 pm

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Every word you say on this is true. I go to every game and it is pure hell watching Uribe come to the plate in a crucial situation and knowing that the low and away slider is coming, no doubt producing at the least a pop up or a complete whiff. I’m sure Ned sees the same thing but $21 million is a big bite of your payroll. Hope Magic can make something happen in  that all important position. It is for sure that Uribe can’t make anything happen……….L A Jonny

June 26, 2012 7:01 pm


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