The deal also includes a vesting sixth-year option. Here's the year-by-year breakdown:
- 2013: $13.5 million
- 2014: $15.5 million
- 2015: $18 million
- 2016: $18 million
- 2017: $17.5 million
- 2018: $17.5 million ($2.5 million buyout)
This contract might not keep him in L.A. the rest of his career, but it will certainly keep him locked up through the most productive seasons he has remaining.
Now, I had written in the past -- a few times -- I thought the Dodgers should either trade Ethier or how I thought things weren't going to end well with this relationship. Then last month, I warmed up to the idea of extending Ethier, but not for an outrageous price.
Here was my suggestion:
"4 years, $60 million with two options yearsSo, not that far off.
2013 : $12M, 2014: $13M, 2015: $15M, 2016: $16M, 2017: $16M (option with $2M buyout), 2018: $16M (option with $2M buyout)"
One area of concern is Ethier's walk rate. He's only walking 7.4 percent of the time this season. That's down from 10.5 last year, 10.1 the year before that and 10.5 the year before that. Not sure what to make of it, other than he doesn't have a lot of protection behind him and he's been protecting Matt Kemp (when Kemp's been healthy).
I wouldn't be too concerned about it, but it's something to keep an eye on going forward.
Ethier is playing right field at the moment, but he should be in let field before too long. Don't let last year's Gold Glove fool you: Ethier is destined for left field. He's better off there, anyway. His arm plays better there, too.
Career UZR (according to FanGraphs):
- LF: -1.6
- RF: -6.2 (better because of the last two seasons)
Is Ethier a $100-plus million player? Probably not. But teams often have to pony up a little extra cash to keep their own free agents from hitting the free agent market (Adam Jones, Matt Cain, Joey Votto -- in Votto's case, a lot of extra cash).
With the lack of quality free agents available next winter (Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Nick Swisher, Melky Cabrera), the Dodgers needed to get Ethier locked up. Especially since Kemp wants him to stay around.
Final analysis: Overpaid, but not grossly. The deal was necessary and it's another item for new ownership to remove from its "To Do List."
Twitter is great. It let's us know all the latest and greatest. In this case, it appears two more Dodger draft picks have signed.
"Just signed with the dodgers!"Zachary Bird
"@truebluela 9th rounder http://bit.ly/L1t6ZA good to see HS picks signing."Nice to see the Dodgers nab a couple more of their high school picks from the first 10 rounds. I'm betting neither signed for less than slot, but we'll see.
Photo credit: McD22, Flickr