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Dodgers close to signing infielder Juan Uribe to three-year deal

November 29, 2010 | 12:40 pm

Uribe_640

The Dodgers are close to signing infielder Juan Uribe to a three-year deal. An announcement could come as soon as Tuesday. Multiple media outlets have reported the deal at $21 million.

Uribe’s signing also would likely mean the end to the brief, if unspectacular, run of Ryan Theriot at second base.

Uribe would certainly offer an upgrade at second for the Dodgers. He batted only .248 for the Giants last season but had a career-high 24 home runs and 85 RBI. That’s some pop the Dodgers could really use.

He falls short of that major bat the Dodgers need in the middle of the lineup, but on a power-challenged team, it’s a definite improvement over where the Dodgers were entering the offseason.

And then there’s the added bonus of taking those home runs and RBI away from the Giants.

Three years is a lot for the 31-year-old infielder, who can also play third and short, and longer than the Dodgers probably wanted to go.

At the end of next season, however, the contracts of third baseman Casey Blake and shortstop Rafael Furcal expire, so at least it gives the Dodgers some needed infield flexibility. And it’s a fairly weak winter for significant free agents.

Uribe has a career on-base percentage of only .300 -- that’s even worse than Theriot’s .348 -- so he’s far from the perfect addition.

But he is a run producer and a pretty clutch one. In the postseason, he had only six hits but drove in nine runs.

Uribe’s signing would continue an active offseason for the Dodgers, who previously signed starters Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Garland.

Adding Uribe would still leave the Dodgers needing to fill holes in left field and at catcher, plus shoring up the bullpen.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Juan Uribe. Chris Carlson / Associated Press

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