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Could Juan Uribe’s Stint on the DL Tempt the Los Angeles Dodgers to Move Hanley Ramirez to Third?

May 28th, 2014 at 12:46 PM
By Jimmy Reynolds

'Hanley Ramirez' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Juan Uribe is currently on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, and the injury may result in Uribe being out for longer than just 15 days. According to Don Mattingly, Uribe "is still a ways from even getting out here and doing a little running, and on-field work."

This is somewhat problematic for the Dodgers, whose solution thus far has been to use Justin Turner and Chone Figgins in place of Uribe. With respect to Turner and Figgins, who have played well over the past few games, the Dodgers may be able to field a much better lineup by using Hanley Ramirez at third and Erisbel Arruebarrena at shortstop.

Ramirez, who is a free agent at the end of the year, has indicated a willingness to move to third base with the Dodgers. Of course, he did not want to be shuffled back and forth, but perhaps he can help increase his value by demonstrating competency at third base and showing a desire to do what is best for the club.

The move would also vastly improve the Dodgers defensively with Arruebarrena taking over at short. Though it has been a very small sample size, Arruebarrena has lived up to his reputation as a slick-fielding shortstop, and there is great value in a defensive-minded shortstop, even one with significant shortcomings at the plate. His long swing has lead to five strikeouts in only 13 at-bats, and even though he is hitting .308, it is hard to believe that Arruebarrena will be a very productive offensive player in the immediate future.

The other option is to continue to go with Figgins and Turner at third and leave Ramirez at short. That would keep Ramirez happy (and possibly productive) and it is definitely the path of least resistance. With both of those players, however, the Dodgers will continue to have below-average defense at short and adequate defense at third. Moving Ramirez to third, on the other hand, keeps adequate defense at third and brings elite defense to short.

Moving Ramirez at this time seems highly unlikely. Arruebarrena’s defense, however, is that good to perhaps warrant such a move if Uribe is going to be out with injury longer than expected. If recent history is any indication, it may be a very long time before his hamstring is healed.

For the Dodgers, improving their infield defense by inserting Arruebarrena could prove to be very wise, although their best hope lies in Uribe returning on schedule.  

Tags: Baseball, Chone Figgins, Don Mattingly, Erisbel Arruebarrena, Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Justin Turner, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB

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