Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Dodgers and Andre Ethier need to quit playing games

The Dodgers and Andre Ethier are playing the "say all the right things" game and trying to posture when instead both should just shut up.

In Thursday's Los Angeles Times' article, Dylan Hernandez writes Ethier wants to stay.
"While reiterating his desire to remain with the Dodgers, Ethier was noncommittal when asked if he would be open to signing a multiyear extension at a time when his value could be relatively low.

"I have no idea," he said. "I'm concerned about getting this right, fixing this and making myself the best I can be for next year."
We all know what Ethier said in Spring Training and what he said just last month. I understand why he keeps wanting to say the right things, but it's clear to me his interest in staying with the Dodgers long-term is lukewarm at best.

*I have no inside information or know the inner workings of Ethier, but that's what it looks like on the outside.*

General manager Ned Colletti has stated his desire to keep Ethier long-term, even though it would be a mistake to give him a long-term, big-money deal.
"Ethier, 29, won't be eligible for free agency until after next season, but Colletti has said he wants to sign him and Matt Kemp to long-term contracts this winter."
Kemp, yes. Ethier, no.

Ethier is going to need knee surgery, but the article said it might be a minor procedure. Despite that, Ethier will be entering his age-30 season and his power numbers have been declining since 2006.
  • 2008: 20 HR, 38 2B, 5 3B, .510 SLG, .885 OPS
  • 2009: 31 HR, 42 2B, 3 3B, .508 SLG, .869 OPS
  • 2010: 23 HR, 33 2B, 1 3B, .493 SLG, .857 OPS
  • 2011: 11 HR, 30 2B, 0 3B, .421 SLG, .789 OPS
While he hit more doubles and home runs in 2009 than he did in 2008, he had fewer at-bats in 2008, leading to a better slugging percentage and OPS.

These numbers do not scream, "5-year, $70 million deal." Granted, he has been injured this season, but he also put up some of his best numbers with Manny Ramirez hitting behind him, which I briefly detailed back in 2009.

Unfortunately, the Dodgers aren't going to be able to maximize the return for Ethier with a pending offseason surgery and down numbers. If they had moved him in June, as I said, things could be different.

A couple years ago, this thought would never have crossed my mind. Now, I'm probably president of the "Trade Andre Ethier" fan club. I don't have anything against him personally, but he does pick some rather inopportune times to say things. That, coupled with a decline in production, makes it much easier for me to stomach him playing elsewhere.

There's no doubt in my mind he'll be a good hitter when he returns from injury, but he might not ever get back to his 2008-09 days. He's entering the tail end of his prime and a big investment from the Dodgers -- years- and money-wise -- might not be the best move.

#####

Clayton Kershaw strengthened his Cy Young argument, tossing eight innings of one-run ball (unearned) last night against the Giants. He now leads the Majors in ERA (2.36), just slightly ahead of the Reds' Johnny Cueto. He also leads the National League in innings pitched and strikeouts.

These are his numbers in his last 12 starts:

10-2 W-L
7.6 IP/GS
66 H
18 R
12 ER
4 HR
18 BB
93 K
1.19 ERA
0.92 WHIP
.201 BAA

Damn.

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