Dodgers near deal with infielder Uribe

Dodgers near deal with infielder Uribe

LOS ANGELES -- Continuing their aggressive offseason renovation, the Dodgers are close to an agreement on a three-year deal with free-agent infielder Juan Uribe, whose clutch production helped the division-rival Giants win the World Series. The deal, worth $21 million, is contingent on Uribe passing a physical exam on Tuesday.

Baseball sources have confirmed that the two sides have an agreement on the terms. The addition of Uribe not only would weaken San Francisco, but provide the Dodgers with a needed veteran power bat for the middle of the lineup. He most likely would become the starting second baseman and trigger the non-tendering of Ryan Theriot, who was acquired from the Cubs with Ted Lilly and had a solid August but tailed off in September.

Uribe didn't tail off when it mattered -- specifically, the Giants' championship run -- driving in nine runs with only six hits in the postseason.

He averaged only .248 during the season, but had a career-high 24 home runs and 85 RBIs while earning $3.25 million. A free swinger, Uribe has a career on-base percentage of .300.

Defensively, the 31-year-old Uribe played primarily shortstop for the Giants this year with the highest fielding percentage in the league at the position, but he also appeared at third base and second base. If signed, he would figure to eventually replace third baseman Casey Blake, who is entering the final year of a three-year deal.

By acquiring Uribe, general manager Ned Colletti would accomplish his second priority, with the Winter Meetings still a week away.

Earlier, Colletti rebuilt the rotation by re-signing Lilly to a three-year, $33 million deal; re-signing Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $12 million deal; and on Friday, landing Jon Garland to a one-year deal for $5 million plus $3 million in incentives and a one-year option for $8 million.

Also on the to-do list is finding a durable middle reliever more reliable than Ronald Belisario and resolving the catching situation, which is uncertain because Russell Martin is recovering from a broken hip. Colletti wanted to quickly re-sign Rod Barajas, but Barajas wanted to test a market that includes other Dodgers possibilities Yorvit Torrealba and Miguel Olivo, among others.

Also still needed is a left fielder, or perhaps a platoon involving Jay Gibbons (already re-signed) or Scott Podsednik (a free agent) and other outside free agents.

Martin, Theriot and reliever George Sherrill are logical non-tender candidates by Thursday's deadline, which would make them free agents and take them out of the arbitration process, but not preclude them from re-signing with the Dodgers.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.