From Here to Ethiernity…
Bad, bad pun I know. I can’t resist a really horrible pun.
So…the Dodgers opened up the checkbook and signed Andre Ethier to a pretty hefty 5 year 85 million dollar extension today and with an option year triggered with x plate appearances we could very well see Andre Ethier in Dodger blue through the 2018 season. Ethier is 30 years old so this is likely his last and probably only big payday, so congratulations to Andre Ethier! You did it buddy!
I’m generally happy to see the Dodgers lock up Andre for the next few years but I feel like five or six more seasons is just way too long to commit to any 30-year-old. There are lots of factors…age, injury, performance vs lefties, etc. that I consider when looking at this contract that makes me wish it was more like three years with a fourth year option. I mean as recently as last season there was talk that platooning Ethier versus lefties would be a pretty logical move since he hit them so terribly. According to Fangraphs as recently as 2009 Andre was hitting .200 against left handers…and only this current season (which was a contract year until today) he was significantly worse against left-handed pitching for the past four seasons.
However, all negatives aside there is a lot to back the idea of keeping Andre. The organization is pretty void of any real OF prospects and aside from Matt Kemp he’s really the only hitter in the lineup that is much of a power threat. Andre does hit for a high average with power which isn’t always a given and he’s a decent fielder. His hot and cold streaks scare me but when he’s hot he’s really, really hot. I dream of a day when Kemp is healthy and Ethier is on because that makes our lineup really interesting for opposing teams to try and figure out a way around/through. If Mattingly would ever get A.J. Ellis batting ahead of them with his high OBP I think we’ll be in really great shape.
So long as this doesn’t hamstring the organization from locking up Kershaw (I don’t see how it would do that, even the idiot that Ned Colletti is knows how valuable Kershaw is) and from signing others and maybe picking up some players at the deadline then I will be happy. There’s a lot of money to be saved by say, letting James Loney walk after this season and not paying him 6.3 million dollars to be a replacement-level player. Put that money to Ethier/Kershaw and let Scott Van Slyke man 1B in 2013? Sign me up. I just don’t want a shored up OF of Kemp and Ethier making 35 million dollars to prevent us from upgrading at 1B and 3B which I think is just abysmal. Ned stop giving journeyman utility IFs two-year deals, you are killing me! Seriously how the hell does Ned Colletti still have a job?!? Isn’t new ownership supposed to bring in their own guys? Argh.
Current state of the Dodgers tangent: I love the play of Hairston but he’s probably not an everyday guy…more like Jamey Carroll spot starting and playing 4-5 days a week to keep everyone fresh at 2B/3B/LF/etc (which is nice since Mark Ellis has been out and will continue to be for a while and hopefully Uribe pulls another something any day now). I think Dee Gordon can turn it around and be decent at SS. Herrera at 3B is OK but I’m worried about him now that Uribe (who along with Adam Kennedy need DFA’d immediately…please promote Aaron Miles (I can’t believe I said that) and jettison these two immediately). Guerra will be back and the bullpen has been pretty solid and I love what our starters have done, especially Nathan Eovaldi in the absence of Ted Lilly.
Looking at my personal collection of Ethier I just have a lot of base. Thankfully his rookie cards are not Dodgers so I don’t have to worry about those…but he’s had a lot of relics and autographed cards the past few years and I’d love to get my hands on some of those…maybe with the group breaks coming up at Cardboard Collections and (hopefully) at Cardboard Conundrum where I have the Dodgers!