The Los Angeles Dodgers have a problem most teams would like to have, maybe.
Their surplus of outfielders can be a blessing and a curse, as there are too many names for just three spots. Last season, manager Don Mattingly tried to mix and match the outfielders and ended up doing more bad than good. Once Mattingly found the right combination, veteran outfielder Andre Ethier was left on the outside looking in. Ethier was relegated to a bench role, and when the Dodgers lost in the first round of the playoffs, Ethier let it be known that he wants to start this season.
In order to vent his feelings, Ethier sat down with a group of Dodgers management via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
After reporting to camp Monday, Ethier said he met with the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, General Manager Farhan Zaidi and Manager Don Mattingly.
“It was good,” Ethier said. “It was a chance to all sit in a room for the first time, all four of us, and kind of clear the air and see where each one of us stands, to get what we had off our chests.”
As of now, it would not appear that Ethier would crack the starting lineup with Yasiel Puig in right field, Carl Crawford in left field and rookie Joc Pederson in center field. Of those three, Puig would seemingly be the only one guaranteed a spot, giving Ethier the chance to beat the others out.
Ethier does believe he will have that chance to start, considering he’s still with the team:
I would hope so and think so,” Ethier said. “With me still being here, I have to assume that they’re at least considering it.”
Last season, the 32-year-old hit just .249 with four home runs and 42 RBIs in 130 games. He was given the start in Game 4 of the NLDS in favor of Puig, but that was hardly enough to satisfy the veteran.
Ethier and the outfield will be one of the bigger story lines of the spring, and it will be interesting to see what does happen.
Dodgers FanFest 2015