GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians searched for a possible upgrade for third base throughout the offseason and had been linked to free agent Juan Uribe for much of the past two months. Cleveland has now reeled in its target, adding another veteran to the fold on a short-term deal.The Indians
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians searched for a possible upgrade for third base throughout the offseason and had been linked to free agent Juan Uribe for much of the past two months. Cleveland has now reeled in its target, adding another veteran to the fold on a short-term deal.
The Indians did not confirm the deal, which was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. A source confirmed to MLB.com on Friday that the Indians have reached an agreement on a contract with Uribe, pending a physical exam. Due to visa issues, it could still be several days before Uribe arrives to the Tribe's camp to take the physical and complete the signing.
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"If possible, we might not be done adding players," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's probably the best answer to stay with right now. If there's more to report, we certainly will. I know that's floating out there and it's no secret we've had interest in him, but I think there's a respectful way to do it, and you can't just always go on reports. But I don't want to just dismiss it, either."
When asked about reaching a deal with Uribe, president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti would only say that Cleveland was still "working on some things."
Uribe, who is in line to earn just shy of $5 million per an ESPN.com report, would presumably take over as the Indians' starting third baseman. Giovanny Urshela ended last season as Cleveland's starter at the hot corner, but the young third baseman endured a rough offensive season in 2015 while battling through a variety of health ailments.
Urshela hit .225 with six home runs, 21 RBIs and a .608 OPS in 81 games for the Indians last season, though he did play above-average defense. The 24-year-old dealt with a knee injury two offseasons ago, fought a back issue during Spring Training a year ago and then tried to play through a right shoulder problem late in the 2015 season.
With Uribe in the fold, Urshela could potentially open the season at Triple-A Columbus, giving Cleveland a chance to further evaluate his offense and plan on a possible midseason promotion.
The 37-year-old Uribe has suited up for the Rockies, White Sox, Giants, Dodgers, Braves and Mets over the course of his 15-year career in the big leagues. Last season, he hit .253 with 14 home runs, 43 RBIs and a .737 OPS in 119 games for Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York. Defensively, he turned in one Defensive Run Saved and had a 2.3 UZR/150 in 733 1/3 innings at third base in 2015.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.