Andre Ethier set to sign five-year contract extension

At ESPN.com’s Sweet Spot, I react to Andre Ethier’s imminent new contract:

The news came late Monday that Andre Ethier and the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to terms on a contract extension that would keep him in Dodger white and blue through at least 2017, at the cost of $85 million over five years – an average of $17 million per year – with a $17.5 million option (against a $2.5 million buyout) for 2018.

Does it seem like a lot of money to you for Ethier, a 30-year-old who ranks 24th in the majors in park-adjusted OPS since 2006, but who has some lingering concerns about his health and ability to hit lefties?

Well, it is, and it isn’t.

Read the entire piece here.

  • Andrew Shimmin

    Fruitionize?

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       ”To come to fruition.”  The word’s time has come. 

      • Blue-eyed Gal

        I never thought I’d hear one of your posts in the voice of Cate Blanchett channelling scary Galadriel. (“Its time had now come…”) 

        I’m lukewarm about the contract to Ethier, but I think you’re right: ALL players get paid amounts that make us shake heads in disbelief, and we’d have to pay as much to get another comparable player…so let’s stick with the fan favorite (at least to judge by the screaming when he comes to bat) and have some continuity for a change.

        And yeah, it evens out a little when we consider to what extent we underpay good young players (both Ethier and Kemp) during their first few years. 

  • http://twitter.com/pstrmatt Matt Powell

    I think he often gets overshadowed by Kemp… understandably.  He is huge part of the culture of this team and I think the chemistry has a lot to do with him as well.  I think it is a GREAT move!

  • Anonymous

    I think the single biggest thing here with the Ethier contract is simply locking up another “Dodger” …

    He’s a Dodger…He’s been a Dodger….All us fans have watched him mature as a Dodger…

    The new ownership group can afford it…. so great!

  • Anonymous

    I see a lot of lousy contracts to over the hill “veterans” and another revolving door in the outfield if we don’t make this deal, so it an important deal.Is Juan Rivera worth what we pay him this year? Think about how many pretty bad outfielders we’ve had over the last few years and this is a no brainer.  I was hoping for $75 million, but the market is what it is.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know what’s being overrated: Ethier’s value as a baseball player, or as a franchise mascot. It just makes no sense to me that we can let Martin walk to avoid paying him $5 mil., but we have to lock up Ethier by giving him one of the largest contracts ever to a RF.

    • Anonymous

      You are talking about 2 different circumstances. Different owners, different budgets, and we were not even sure Martin would ever be productive again. He missed most of his last season with an injury that was hard to come back from.  I like the contract. Its a signal to the fans that the new owners will do what it takes. If Eitheir left for free agency who were we going to replace him with? When healthy the past 5 years he has been one of the most productive players in baseball. I was hoping for less than 100 million for 5 years and we got very close to that. 

      • Anonymous

        Agreed that the Martin situation was made extremely speculative by the injury.  At the time the Yankees made their offer, there was no guarantee he would be able to resume his career as a catcher at all.

    • Anonymous

      Russell Martin of the .211 batting average?  I didn’t like losing him, because he played his heart out for the Dodgers.  But I can’t argue with letting go of a guy coming back from hip surgery after two straight years in which his power numbers fell off at Loney-like proportions.  

    • Anonymous

      In 2010, before the Dodgers let him walk, Russell Martin had a .679 OPS and was hurt.  Here’s how that decision has worked out since then:

      2011 Martin NYY OPS .732
      2011 Barajas LAD OPS .717
      2011 Ellis LAD OPS .769

      2012 Martin NYY OPS .762
      2012 Ellis LAD OPS .909
      2012 Treanor LAD OPS .912

      With the benefit of hindsight, letting Martin walk was a great move!

      • Anonymous

        This is exactly what I mean. Given that the fanbase are perfectly willing to throw classy, homegrown guys like Martin under the bus, why should the Dodgers pay a fan-service premium to Ethier?

        • Anonymous

          That’s only if you see this as a giveaway to Ethier. I see it as the opposite: a hometown discount that Ethier is giving the Dodgers.  He’d get far more than $17 million on the open market.  How much do you think the Yankees would pay to lock him up in a corner outfield spot instead of Nick Swisher or Raul Ibanez?  Or the Red Sox, currently using Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald to patrol their outfield?

          • Anonymous

            It’s vaguely plausible to say that Ethier was more valuable to the Dodgers because of our unique circumstance, but there is absolutely zero sense in assuming Ethier was likely to get more than 5/85 on the open market. Why would anyone give Ethier 5/85 purely on baseball terms? Since you brought up Swisher, let’s compare their numbers. Here is a graph showing the two players’ wOBA curves:

            http://www.fangraphs.com/comparison.aspx?playerid=4599&position=OF&page=8&players=6265Seeing as how they are pretty much even offensively, and Swisher brings a better glove and greater versatility to the table, I’m pretty sure the Yankees would be happy to pay Swisher 3/35 or something of the sort.

            If we are to justify this deal, we have to do so on the basis of some vaguely unquantifiable fan-service value. I just don’t think that’s worth so much money.

          • Anonymous

            The ladies love Andre.  Ask any woman who roots for the Dodgers to name her favorite player.  If it’s not Ethier, I’d be surprised.

          • Anonymous

            Actually, SaMo, my wife’s favorite is Kemp, though she doesn’t follow the team closely.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the statement in Jon’s article as as well as Petriello’s.  While the contract may possibly be viewed as overpayment on statistics alone, continuity has its value.  There is every reason to believe had he gone into December without a contract, the Red Sox and likely the Yankees, would have made larger offers than this one.  Seemed like a fair contract for both sides.
     
    Now about the issue on MLB trade rumors that have the Dodgers considering Ryan Dempster………

    • Anonymous

      I don’t want us to sign Dempster.  He’s having a great year, but his previous seasons were mostly nothing special, with a 4.34 career ERA.    (This year his WHIP is 1.027; his career WHIP is 1.435 and his previous best for a year is 1.210.)  And he’s 35, so he’s at an age where he’s likely to decline.

      We have seven solid starters signed through next season, including the currently injured Lilly and Rubby.  If the opportunity arose to sign a true ace like Hamels or Greinke, by all means make the move.  But Dempster is a typical #4 starter who is having a year that makes him look like a #1.  No thanks.

  • Anonymous

    The contracts given to Jayson Werth ($18 mil. avg) and Carl Crawford ($20 mil) raised the bar for corner outfielders.  Ethier’s stats compare favorably to both of those men, yet he’ll be earning less than either one.  He’s also younger (30) than when Werth (31), or Torii Hunter (31, $18 million per) signed their most recent deals.  

    Ethier’s numbers today are better than Hunter’s when he first signed with the Angels. If he puts up five years like the ones Torii has put up for the Angels (.349 OBP, .814 OPS, 20 Hr/year) the Dodgers should be quite happy. I see this as a steal for the Dodgers, if for no other reason that it’ll get TJ Simers to shut up about Ethier whining about a contract extension.  

  • Anonymous

    Don’t get me started on Dempster.  Why? Cant Eovaldi hold it down till De la Rosa is back?  Or Lilly is back? 

    • Anonymous

      Oh yeah!  Eovaldi appears to have a bright future, as does De La Rosa.  All I can see out of this would be a second deal whereby an existing starter (proabably Billingsley) may be moved in a deal for a hitter.

  • Anonymous

    The Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano to a deal worth $17 million a year when he was Ethier’s age.  I’m surprised to see how good he has actually been for them: his OPS is .819 with the Cubs. I don’t know why anyone ever throws him a strike given his Uribe-like tendencies to swing at bad balls.  Maybe he only plays on the days when the wind is blowing out at Wrigley. 

    In any event, Ethier is twice the defensive player that Soriano is, and no worse than comparable offensively.  

    • Anonymous

      Plus market has changed since Soriano signed his. 

    • Anonymous

      Actually, according to UZR, Soriano has been a plus LF, 60 runs above replacement since he became a Cub, while Ethier has been an awful RF, or 25 runs below replacement in his career. Also, Soriano got his contract after hitting 45 HRs in Washington.

      • Anonymous

        Any metric that defines Soriano as a better outfielder than Ethier has got to be flawed, imho. 

        • Anonymous

          I know defense is really hard to measure but I have a very hard time understanding the metrics that say both Ethier and Kemp are so bad in the outfield. I just don’t see it,. 

        • Anonymous

          For what it’s worth, Soriano was at least athletic.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, he even does a bunny hop, when he catches the ball.

  • Anonymous

    Now Dre can dine at better restaurants in LA.

  • Anonymous

    Historically, one of the franchise’s strengths has been continuity. This seems to be a move in that direction.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Speaking of TJ Simers, he interviews the elusive Stan Kasten. And calls him a blowhard.

    Do I even need to call for an Irony Commission ruling on this? 
    http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodgers/la-sp-0612-simers-dodgers-kasten-20120612,0,2595808.column

    Simers is such an embarrassment. I know he’s trying to be a comical muckraker but I’d call him other words.

    • Anonymous

      How does Simmers even keep his job? I don’t know of one person that likes him, He says he writes this way for laughs. I don’t find him funny. Why do they even allow him in the press box. 

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        It does seem hard to believe any LA sports team, athlete, coach or management person would allow him chance for interview at this point since all he does is hatchet pieces. 

    • Anonymous

      At  least he’s close to retirement, right?

    • Anonymous

      Simers works under the guise of being the guy who “asks the hard questions” and “tells it like it is” by “pulling no punches” when in actuality he goes around always looking for the one area where he can criticize an athelete or team for something, anything, as long as it’s negative. His act grew tired years ago. He’s extremely tiring, and no better than those sensationalist, check-out line rags.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Jon’s point about continuity.  If anything, that’s what makes me most excited.  Finally, the Dodgers can have a solid core and an identity, which really they’ve not had since the 70′s.  I love it.

    • Anonymous

      They definitely had an identity through the eighties and even beyond. They started to lose it when Piazza was traded.

  • Anonymous

    Never felt the need to criticize Ethier’s fielding but some of you do… So, how do you feel anout him playing First, putting Kemp in Right, Gwynn in Center, alternate Rivera and Abreu in Left? Even if Loney hits .280, with all singles that’s not acceptable.

    • Anonymous

      Would much prefer Ethier in LF, Kemp in RF, and TGJ in CF. Now to find a real bat for 1B

    • Anonymous

      As an extensive observer of Dodger games, in person as well as over the media, I’ve always observed Ethier as an above average outfielder, with a good arm, a good eye, good range, etc.  Leave him in right.

  • Anonymous

    I really don’t like to use the word *hate* flippantly – it’s a very strong word and should be reserved for a select few. So – I find it hard to *dislike* the Angels with Scioscia being the manager and all – but man, I sure *hate* to lose to those guys.
    I don’t like the Angels announcers – they are unabashed homers – and terrible at thier craft.
    I don’t like the Angels uniforms.
    I don’t like the fake Disneyland rocks in the outfield at the Big A
    I don’t like how the stadium is called “the Big A”
    I don’t like that stoopid halo.

    • Anonymous

      Well said. There’s no reason to hate any opposing player – though I might indulge the word “detest” for someone like Bonds or Clemens. I agree with you about all those other Anaheimer features, but Scioscia deserves respect as someone who should have had the opportunity to manage the Dodgers.

  • Anonymous

    In baseball it’s not just about how much you pay a guy, but how much you are willing to go without that person, since there are very few good hitters available each year in free agency.  The Dodgers cannot afford to let Ethier go, and the most important thing was to get him signed rather than the possibility of losing him to someone else, even if that means overpaying him.  If you’re not broke, then it is just a matter of how badly does he fill a hole and how easy he is to replace, not how much does he cost. 

    • Anonymous

      Again, is this for baseball reasons that we can’t afford to let him go? Because that doesn’t make any sense. First, Ethier is not that good, and this offseason will feature several good FA outfielders. Many of them are CFs, but then we are probably better off with Kemp at RF in any case. Second, even if we were forced to sign someone below Ethier’s level, that doesn’t prevent us from shifting Ethier-money to other positions. Third, even assuming we were so stacked everywhere except RF–and we are not–that doesn’t mean we *have* to sign Ethier to 5 years. Nothing prevents us from giving up some value in 2013 for a chance at a better solution in 2014. 

      • Christopher Staaf

        Several good outfielders available in FA, yes. However, chances are we are not going to get them. First, we are not gonna be in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes. The last thing a recovering addict needs is the temptation of the LA nightlife. He’s likely gonna go back to Texas. Second, Curtis Granderson will likely go back to NY since 13 million dollar option for all those HRs and good glove in CF will be considered a bargain (especially for the Yankees). That leaves BJ Upton, Shane Victorino, Melky Cabrera, Michael Bourn, and Carlos Quentin. Personally I would take Dre over all of them. 

        I am gonna guess though that the Dodgers know they won’t go after Josh Hamilton, which is a factor of Dre getting the contract now and not in November. 

        • Anonymous

          But let’s say we got Melky Cabrera for 2/20, and assume that Cabrera is a 2 WAR player whereas Ethier is a 3 WAR player. While we are short 1 WAR at RF, we can shift $7 mil. that’s now freed up to buy an upgrade at 1st. All of a sudden, we can replace Loney with Nick Swisher, and without committing $85 mil. to a 30 year old.

          • Anonymous

            But Melky is not a power bat and will probably get 3 years and why would dre knock out getting Nick Swisher of all people, or Melky for that matter?

          • Anonymous

            >> But let’s say we got Melky Cabrera for 2/20

            Impossible.

        • Anonymous

          >> Personally I would take Dre over all of them.

          So would I.

  • Christopher Staaf

    First, I am a huge Dre fan so I am happy for him and his family. 85 million over 5 years sounds like a lot but I think Dre will see that contract through to its end with the Dodgers. 

    I saw a Soriano comment earlier and of course Soriano infamously signed a 100 plus million dollar deal with the Cubs. Soriano has two more years left on the deal. Comparing Dre to Soriano is just wrong. Dre is a much better fielder and Dre can hit for high average (this current slump not withstanding). I think if Dre hit the open market, a team would have offered Dre a 100 million dollar deal, someone like Philadelphia or maybe the Chicago White Sox. I am glad we will have Dre for 5.5 more years. Go Blue. 

    BTW I hope the new owners find in their hearts to lock up Clayton Kershaw for five more years too. And find money to get Cole Hamels in December. 

    • Anonymous

      On the open winter market, ‘dre was likely to get $17-20 million/year for 7-8 years.  Part of the attraction of his new contract is not having to buy his age 37-38 years at the same salary as his 31-35 years.

  • Anonymous

    We are stuck with Uribe for one more year, we don’t need any more starting ptiching, since Eovaldi and Rubby are already on the otuside looking in and the first basemen available are even worse than the outfielders.  All center fielders available this winter are older than Ethier, except Sizemore and Melky Cabrera.  Melky will want as many years as Ethier and may not be available this winter at all.  Granderson will not be available.  I don’t see anyone who will hit 20 hr, hit over 280 and ops over 800 who will be available for as little as Ethier, especially since they are all headed downhill faster than Ethier.  There’s Josh Hamilton who has a decent chance of being available but will cost even more than Ethier in all likelihood.  We already need a bigger bat to join Ethier and Kemp and in the middle of the order, and if we need two bats then it becomes even less likely we will get there on the free agent market. 

    • Anonymous

      Melky is a terrible outfielder who, offensively, is playing way over his head. He perhaps can play left adequately enough to justify himself as a capable No. 2 or 6 hitter, but he’s no elite player.

      • Anonymous

        You know who has elite written all over him…Mike Trout. Wow what a ballplayer. I would love to see a race between him and Gordon.

        • Anonymous

          I agree. He deserves some of the attention that Bryce Harper’s (deservedly) getting.

  • Anonymous

    Josh Hamilton will cost a whole  lot more than $17 million per year. 
    As for BJ Upton, Shane Victorino, Melky Cabrera, Michael Bourn, and Carlos Quentin, I’d take Ethier over any of those guys.  Upton’s numbers are surprisingly bad or somebody projected to be so good.  Quentin is the best of that lot, but he doesn’t strike me as a better bet than Andre.
     

    • Anonymous

      Upton’s pretty solid for a good fielding CF. And he’d come cheaper than 5/85 for sure.

      • Anonymous

        But not a very good hitting CF.  

  • Anonymous

    But Upton is a very different player and isn’t any better than Loney.  He’s like Gordon in a few years with speed and a very low OBP and high strikeout rate, only he’s not a shortstop.

    • Anonymous

      Upton has substantially greater power than Loney, but I agree he has significant shortcomings.

  • Anonymous

    If it wasn’t for Milton Bradley we wouldn’t be having this discussion!

  • Anonymous

    Programming note for those who don’t already have PrimeTicket or MLB Extra Innings: Tonight’s game will be cablecast on the MLB Network.

    • Anonymous

      Sounds like I may be in for a double blackout.  :(
       
      Guess I’ll have to rely on KT.

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

         Me too, undoubtedly.

      • KT

        I will have the angel broadcast and maybe the MLB will be showing the Dodger feed

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

     NPUT

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1604610572 Lucas Bauer

    You have to be bleeping me…