Andre Ethier

With Spring Training quickly approaching, clarity on Andre Ethier’s role with the Los Angeles Dodgers may be but a few weeks away.

Ethier, who primarily played off the bench for the Dodgers in 2014, is hoping to reclaim a starting role in 2015, but in order to do so, he’ll have to beat out Joc Pederson in center field or Carl Crawford in left. again in 2015.

Last season Ethier started 79 games and played in 130, which was the second-lowest of his career. He later called it the most humlbing season he’s ever endured.

While Ethier didn’t see the field with much regularity in 2014, he tended to struggle when given playing time. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, a former coach of Ethier’s believes consistency is key to getting production from the 32-year-old outfielder:

He’s a guy who has to play a lot to get into a rhythm. If he doesn’t, like last season, he’s not going to produce. The more he hits against lefties, the more comfortable he gets against them. He needs to be an everyday player.”

In Either’s career against left-handed pitchers, 6.2 percent of his plate appearances have resulted in a walk. This is vastly different from his plate appearances against right-handers, as 10.7 percent of those resulted in a walk. However, the amount of walks are not the issue in this case.

The problem is Ethier’s inability to hit left-handers compared to right-handed pitching and it is reflected in his batting-average splits. In his career, Ethier is batting .235/.294/.348 against lefties and .304/.506/.888 against right-handers.

While his former coach’s idea of “exposure therapy” may work for some, it hasn’t applied to Ethier’s case thus far. The last time he batted above .235 against lefties was in 2008 when he hit .243.

The Dodgers reportedly had a deal in place to trade Ethier to the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Baltimore Orioles expressed an interest, but it appears as though he’ll be in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 25 along with other Dodger position players.

If Ehtier hopes to earn a starting role in the Dodger outfield, he’ll need to improve on his deficiencies at the plate. He understandably upset over his role in 2014, but without improvement against left-handed pitching, he’ll be hard pressed to play on a regular basis.

26 Responses

  1. Tmax

    Even if a miracle happens and he starts in place of Crawford he would have to platoon with SVS as he simply does not hit Lefties. Never really has had good luck with them and his numbers have taken a dive as he has gotten older. That is why that contract was a travesty. For that alone Colletti should have been fired.

    Reply
    • Michael N. Norris

      Over reaction there T. Remember, when he got the contract he was coming off a year where he had a bunch of walk off homers, and there was nobody in the farm system who could have filled the job, He had decent numbers against leftys a couple of years, but pretty much the last 3 he has really had problems. Colletti made some bad moves that were questionable, but at the time he resigned Andre, almost every Dodger fan thought it was the right move…very popular guy

      Reply
      • Tmax

        You are right, at the time he was the darling of the team. And McCourt was still busy stripping the Farm System and not getting any International Players either. But Colletti is an old baseball guy and I think a smart man. Was he told to sign Ethier I wonder? I mean the deal was just stupid. When you are an Exec and have the baseball pedigree Colletti has he knew that deal was stupid.

        .

      • Michael N. Norris

        I am pretty sure there was pressure from McCourt. After all his 2 biggest chips were coming off good years. Kemp and Andre….attendance was down, fans were mad, and letting Andre go for nothing was not an option…

  2. larryball

    Ethier and Van Slyke will do a lot of platooning as Crawford, if he’s playing to form, will be on the DL much of the season. If Crawford plays more than he usually does he’s probably the best bet. He’s really a helluva ball player when healthy. Late last season he showed that. Ethier’s contract was stupid when signed and is even more ridiculous now – But that’s what baseball is all about in the 21st century. He ought to relax and play the market because he’s not getting full time employment in baseball anywhere.

    Reply
    • Michael N. Norris

      For the next 3 years it doesn’t matter. He will get paid. Crawford was healthy last year for the most part, and we can hope for the same. If not and Ethier, Van Slyke platoon is not the worst that could happen. Everyone seems to forget that Pederson winning the CF job is not a lock, Ethier and Heisey are here in case he doesn’t

      Reply
      • Tmax

        That is a good point Bear, I just watched the Braves Dodger playoff from 2013I had forgotten that Shoemaker was playing center as Kemp was hurt. The first game with Kershaw pitching Ramirez completely whiffs on a ball 90% of the SS out there would have had. The result being Kershaw loses the shutout just like Kershaw loses the Perfect Game because of Ramirez. Very glad he is gone. My point being that a Ethier/Heisey CF would not be that bad. Heisey looks like a decent player from his stats and I read he is a good defensive player.

      • Michael N. Norris

        While I agree that Hanley is a lousy SS, remember this. He was nails at the plate in 2013. Without HanRam they do not make the playoffs. And he and Uribe killed the Braves. The only reason the Cardinals won the NLCS was because they took Hanley out in game 1. After that he was a non factor, and without his power and bat in the middle of the lineup, The Dodgers were toast. Kemp was out, Ethier was banged up. Crawford was at maybe 70 percent,,,so Shumaker, SVS and Puig were playing and I do not remember any of them doing much.

      • Tmax

        And that is why I was against the Kemp trade. As I have said before most teams only have a couple of hitters that pitchers fear. That when they are on can hit their best pitch. The Dodgers had, when they were healthy, at least 3 of them in AGon, Kemp and HRamirez all truly feared hitters. We now have one. The Giants had two in Posey and the Panda. They now have one. You are right HRamirez was/is one of the most talented hitters in the League. No question. The fact that he can go to the AL and play for 3-4 more years makes me want the DH in the NL plus, I am, as I know you are, tired of the pitcher spot ruining a rally. It is much more exciting watching the AL. Plus not as many pitcher changes which makes the game drag on and on and on.

  3. disqus_JgvCNjmh4c

    I forgot Defense has nothing to do with baseball.

    Reply
    • Matthew Moreno

      It certainly does and the Dodgers have better defensive options than Ethier.

      Reply
      • Michael N. Norris

        Pederson..? mark with the bat and Heisey…no bat at all pretty much……not great options there chief…

      • Tyler Monroy

        Well Crawford has a career fielding percentage of .989 and Ethier has a FP of .987. However, last season Crawford had a total of one Defensive Runs Saved and Ethier had -7. Crawford also made 39 plays outside of his zone in the outfield while Ethier only made 25.

        Also, Joc Pederson only had 38 plate appearances in a tight playoff race. It will be interesting to see how he does during the beginning of the season when the atmosphere is much more relaxed.

  4. Jackson Ebner

    Schebler is probably ready right now to be more productive than Ethier, which is why you don’t sign players to expensive long term contracts into their decline years.

    Reply
    • Michael N. Norris

      Jackson, Ethier should never have been give that long a deal, but at the time there were pretty much no options in the minors, and he was coming of a pretty good year. Not saying it was the right thing to do, but since the farm system was pretty dry at the time, it was the right move

      Reply
      • Jackson Ebner

        He was coming off a pretty good year, but even then his splits identified him as a platoon player, not a star. If there was no one on the farm to replace him, then you make a trade or look at other free agents. Geez, SD just replaced their entire outfield with good players.

      • Michael N. Norris

        But. McCourt was running the team, it was easier to keep him and have a known product rather then risk big money for a free agent different mind set, different owner./….and he did not want to just let a fan favorite go..

      • Jackson Ebner

        It takes sharp management to know when to let a player go, St. Louis let Pujols walk, and won a world series the very next year I believe. So yea, I understand the bad reasons they gave him that contract, but disagree it was the right move. Whether you are a rich team with money to throw around, or a team that works with a relatively light budget, its how efficiently you spend that money that determines how close to its potential a team is constituted. There is little room for sentiment if the goal is winning.

      • Michael N. Norris

        never said it was the right move. For McCourt it was…attendance was down, fans were not very happy, and the team was basically just treading water. He had a couple of genuine fan favorites who were the only reason fans came. Look, remember when they traded for Manny? By all rights it was a great trade because Boston picked up almost all his remaining salary for that year. Also, he had probably the best 2 month stretch of any player ever. And they made it to the NLCS. They lost because the Phil’s had a better staff, and bullpen. But what ruined that whole thing, was the next spring they brought him back on a ridiculous 2 year 40 million dollar contract. So, they had issues, and never said McCourt was a genius

      • Jackson Ebner

        Now i see what you mean. Maybe the russian psychic told him to do it.

  5. MillaRed

    Does he really want to play? Restructure his contract that is trade friendly and hit the road. If not, shut up!

    Reply
    • Michael N. Norris

      Well that isn’t happening because MLB contracts cannot be restructured. Unlike the NFL or basketball. The MLB players association would have a cow if it was even tried. Right now he is insurance against Pederson falling on his wallet in spring.

      Reply
      • Matthew Moreno

        NBA contracts can’t be restructured, either.

      • Michael N. Norris

        I stand corrected, but they are much more easily traded or bought out with the salary cap..

      • Matthew Moreno

        That is certainly very true.

  6. Jordan Veiga

    This is one of the best articles that I have ever read on Dodgers Nation!

    Reply

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