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Juan Uribe Released on Waivers

By Mark Boyer in News on Mar 20, 2008 6:00PM

2008_3_20.Uribe.jpgYesterday morning, WSCR 670 AM reported that free swinging White Sox infielder Juan Uribe has been placed on waivers by the team. Uribe had been competing for the second base position since he was relieved of his position as shortstop when the Sox traded for Orlando Cabrera from the L.A. Angels over the winter, and by most accounts he was performing well. When a player is waived, the team has the option to trade him within two business days, keep the player on the team if no offers are made for him, or release him with full pay.

In Uribe's case, that pay would total $4.5 million, because the team just signed him to a one-year contract a few days before trading for his replacement, shortstop Orlando Cabrera. However, as Joe Cowley of the S-T notes, there's no certainty that Uribe won't still be with the team on opening day.

So why would the Sox make such a move after re-signing Uribe? The smart money is on the Sox trying to orchestrate a trade with Uribe to bring in another second baseman. Rumors have emerged this week that the Sox are eying Baltimore's second baseman Brian Roberts, but most analysts have ruled that out because of the team's lack of pitching prospects. It could also mean that the Sox have decided to put second base in the hands of Alexei Ramirez, the recent Cuban import who has dazzled this spring in Arizona, and who is sporting some of the best offensive stats of any of the team's regular position players. Manager Ozzie Guillen is reluctant to name Ramirez the team's starting second baseman, though, out of uncertainty about his defensive skills at the position (he has more experience at shortstop and center field).

Between charges that he shot a man in the Dominican Republic, the baseball-sized wad he keeps in his cheek and that inimitable batting stance, the Juan Uribe era on the South Side has been an entertaining one. Players know him as a guy who likes to talk to his bats, while fans know him for swinging at balls that are above his eyes. And if he had a ladder he'd probably try to go higher, as Sox play-by-play man Ed Farmer likes to say.