Dodgers send 3B Juan Uribe to Braves in 6-player trade
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Dodgers dealt third baseman Juan Uribe to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday in a six-player trade that was initially blocked.
Los Angeles also sent right-handed pitcher Chris Withrow to the Braves for infielder Alberto Callaspo, left-handers Eric Stults and Ian Thomas, and minor league right-hander Juan Jaime.
The 36-year-old Uribe was batting .247 with one home run and six RBI in 29 games. He became expendable after losing his starting job to veteran Justin Turner and rookie Alex Guerrero, who was hitting .313 with eight homers in 83 at-bats.
''I had some great times here, four-plus years here, and I want to thank God for the chance I had with the Dodgers and now the opportunity I'm going to get with the Braves,'' Uribe said through a translator from the visitors dugout before Wednesday's game. ''I'm happy to still be playing baseball. Anytime anybody wants you it's a good thing.''
Callaspo originally nixed the trade under a provision that prevents any player who became a major league free agent from being traded without his approval until after June 15. He agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract with the Braves in December.
To gain Callaspo's consent, the Braves agreed to pay him a $100,000 assignment bonus.
''It surprised me at first, but the next day I was like I'll go with the best team so I decided to go with the trade,'' Callaspo said, wearing Dodger blue for the first time in the home dugout. ''I feel happy to be here. Anywhere, anytime they ask me to play I'm going to be available.''
Uribe had a career-best .311 average last season, along with nine homers and 54 RBIs in 103 games. He is making $6,925,000 in the final season of a two-year contract.
''From some conversations we had he wanted to play more, he expressed that, and this does that for him,'' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ''He wasn't happy, hasn't been happy here the last couple of weeks.''
Callaspo, who has the same agent as Uribe, played for the Los Angeles Angels from 2010-13 before spending last season with Oakland. He merely had to trade clubhouses after his latest move - the Braves were in Los Angeles for the finale of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
''From our standpoint Callaspo is a guy that fits our current roster really well,'' Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. ''He's a switch-hitter, can play third base, second base, first base and that added versatility extends our bench a little bit further.''
Uribe, who helped the Dodgers win consecutive NL West titles after winning World Series rings with the Chicago White Sox in 2005 and San Francisco in 2010, was coming to a team he helped beat in the 2013 NL Division Series. Uribe hit a decisive two-run homer against the Braves in the eighth inning of Game 4, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 series win.
''He's dangerous, we saw it in 2013,'' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, noting Uribe will split time at third base with incumbent Chris Johnson. ''He's a good pickup. To add that kind of guy who can take somebody out of the ballpark, you feel pretty good.''
He didn't provide many highlights this season.
''It was time to go to a new team,'' Uribe said. ''I'm ready to do what they ask of me and play well.''
Callaspo, 32, was hitting .206 with one homer and eight RBIs.
''I told Mattingly I can play anywhere,'' Callaspo said. ''They didn't really give me an idea about my playing time. I'm just going to wait for my chance.''
Stults signed a $2 million, one-year deal with the Braves and made eight starts, but the 35-year-old was just 1-5 with a 5.85 ERA. He was designated for assignment by the Dodgers.
Thomas, who had pitched in five games out of the Atlanta bullpen, was optioned to the Dodgers' Triple-A team in Oklahoma City. Jaime, who made the Braves roster in spring training but was quickly demoted after walking four in 1 1-3 innings, was assigned to extended spring training in Arizona.
Withrow is on 60-day disabled list and hasn't pitched in more than a year. He underwent Tommy John surgery last June and lower back surgery during the offseason. He appeared in 46 games for the Dodgers over two seasons, going 3-0 with one save and a 2.73 ERA. The 26-year-old was first-round pick in 2007.
''Withrow is a guy that when I was with the Rays I actually tried to acquire, so I appreciate how good he can be,'' Friedman said. ''He's obviously rehabbing from Tommy John and also back surgery and is going to take a little bit of time to come back. The immediacy of being able to add pitching depth now as opposed to waiting until 2016 was something that kind of pushed it over for us.''