It all started innocently enough: a series of tweets kicked around the internet during the offseason, suggesting that the Indians might pick up Juan Uribe. This was the only rumor that the Indians were involved in for a while. How much would the Indians benefit from his veteran presence? Maybe he would be so effective that the Indians would be forced to use him at every position as Matt R. Lyons suggested.
We didn't know what the season would look like when the stove was still hot. Then, warm.... and finally kind of cold when the Tribe finally pulled the trigger and signed Uribe on February 26th. He joined other off-season additions Mike Napoli, Tommy Hunter, and Rajai Davis right before Spring Training. For a while, the acquisition looked like a masterstroke; Uribe hit .324/.361/.618 during the spring, momentarily assuaging Indians fans' concerns about the hot corner.
However, once the season began, things didn't look to be too good for Uribe on the field. At the end of May, Uribe's batting average sat at .248, which ended up being the high-water mark of the year for him.
Then, baseball seemed to turn on Uribe in increasingly dangerous ways. In a matchup against the Angels in June, Mike Trout hit a ground ball that jumped directly into Uribe's Uribes. Taking a shot to the groin is never fun — Yan Gomes experienced the same blinding and shameful event this season — but Uribe did produce one of the most memorable quotes in all of baseball as a result.
Juan Uribe (testicular contusion) said no BP today. Asked why he doesn't use a cup, he said: "I don't think the trainers have my size." Oh.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 13, 2016
On July third, a ball hit Uribe in the hand at the plate, requiring an X-Ray that fortunately came back negative. Less than a month later another ball struck Uribe, although this one caused a little bit of a scare. A 93 mph fastball from Odrisamer Despaigne* slammed into the left side of his helmet. He ended up being okay, but after the game he remarked, "Now I'm crazy. Now I want to kill someone." The reporters asking how he felt did not begin to laugh until Uribe did.
*It's really kind of terrifying that google knows I'm writing about baseball and autocorrects names that I spell incorrectly. Even the Odrisamers of the world will have a future where their names can be spelled correctly. Someday, I may see Schilicthing for the last time.
Despite his lack of production and misfortunes on the field, it was delightful to have Uribe on the team. He gave us one of the best gifs of the year during an early season route of the Detroit Tigers:
He developed a deep bond with youngster Jose Ramirez, leading to a running joke that the two players were actually father and son. In the same report by Zack Meisel, Terry Francona noted what a calming presence he had been in the clubhouse.
"He's always smiling," Francona said. "He goes, 'Hey, play me when you want. Just tell me where to go.' He's been there and done it many times. I know that when he talks, they listen. Everybody enjoys him. I mean, how could you not?"
It's important to remember that Juan Uribe might be the snazziest dresser in the history of baseball. Not only did he stroll into the clubhouse in ludicrous shirts with unlit cigars hanging out of his mouth, but Uribe also sported golden shoes during the Indians lengthy winning streak.
However, our time with Uribe is now at a close. The Indians officially DFA'd him yesterday afternoon to make room on the roster for Andrew Miller. What's next for Uribe? It's tough to say. He's put together a lengthy career, but after this season with the Tribe it's tough to think that a team would give him another shot for an entire season.There is some rumbling about the Mets potentially bringing him back before the end of the season. Whether or not we see Uribe on the baseball field again, I'm glad that the Indians brought him along for part of this season.
I sincerely hope that he's given a ring if the Indians win the whole f'in thing. He formed an integral part of the team's chemistry and would deserve just as much than one of the team's recent additions.
Tough part of the game: Juan Uribe has been designated.— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) August 1, 2016
Juan is a true pro. We loved him here and will miss him. pic.twitter.com/ieeWXvBW5y