Juan Uribe rumors: Rays would use Uribe as first baseman


The Rays are looking at the veteran infielder as a possible solution at first.

The Rays are interested in adding free agent Juan Uribe as a potential first baseman and utility infielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Uribe was the NL West Champion Dodgers primary third baseman last season, starting 123 games there for Los Angeles. He hit .278/.331/.438 in 426 plate appearance with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in 2013, and his defense at third was given extremely high marks by both Total Zone (22 runs saved) and Defensive Runs Saved (15 runs saved). However, with Evan Longoria already manning third Tampa Bay would not be able to play him there regularly. Rosenthal reports he would primarily play first as well as back up Longoria in case of emergency and also serve as an option at second.

First is the most foreign position in the infield for Uribe. He has played just four games there in his career with a single start, but if his work higher up the defensive spectrum is any indication, he could be a plus-defender under the Rays potential plan. The 34-year-old began his career as shortstop and has started  871 games there during his 13-year-career, rating as a plus-fielder until his late twenties. He has also seen 220 games at second and produced solid defensive numbers there.

The Rays have had excellent success in utilizing creative, low-cost solutions at first base in recent years. Last season, they bought low on James Loney and received a .299/.348/.430 batting line for their $2 million gamble. They pulled off a similar feat in 2011, getting a .306/.378/.422 from Casey Kotchman.

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