It’s hard to not feel for Andre Ethier. For the past four seasons, he has been stuck with bench duty far more often than he would like and, honestly, far more often than he should.

This is Andre Ethier we’re talking about. He is the longest tenured player on the Dodgers roster, going on 10 seasons with the team. The same Andre Ethier who once swatted 31 homers in 2009 and made the all-star team in 2010 and ’11. Last season, he found himself victim to the outfield carousel, sharing time with Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke (to name a few players).


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Even in his limited playing time last year, Ethier still posted some great numbers as he hit 14 homers and batted .297.

The biggest complaint we’ve heard so far is that “his contract is too large” or “he is not worth the money he is being paid.”

I beg to differ. With the dollar inflating more and more every year in the major league market, his $18M/year for the next three years will become less and less money when compared to the newer contracts of other players in the league.

Let’s take a look at Alex Gordon.

Courtesy www.cleveland.com

Courtesy www.cleveland.com

The 3-time all-star is set to average $18.5M over the next six seasons in a new contract tendered to him by the Royals. Gordon also set to earn $23M/year at one point in the length of his contract.

Looking at Gordon’s entire body of work, his 162-game average provided by his Baseball Reference profile has him averaging 19 home runs a year and batting .269.

Ethier’s 162-game average shows him hitting 18 homers and batting .286. All for slightly less than Gordon is set to make annually.

Not good enough? How about Shin-Soo Choo?

smcontributor.com

smcontributor.com

Choo is set to make a whopping $20.5M/year for the next four seasons in Texas. For $2.5M a year more than Ethier is making, Choo is averaging 20 home runs per 162 games and only batting .281.

Not enough? Fine. How about Jason Heyward?

At the risk of infuriating sabermetricians everywhere, (I can already hear Brian Kenny screaming) let’s simply examine each player’s offensive output per dollar.

Heyward is a paid man, averaging $23M/year for the next eight seasons. All while averaging 19 homers and batting .269 per 162 games a year.

As far as his WAR or defensive metrics are concerned, I don’t care. I’m not here to argue Heyward’s value in all aspects of the game. I’m simply making the case that Ethier is still the sort of player that should be in the starting lineup on most nights and not the sort of player that should fall subject to the dreaded word “platoon.”

Ethier can still play. On top of that, he is the very definition of a professional athlete. He has had every right to complain about his playing time and the way he has been used in the lineup. Instead, he does what he is told without little to no gripe.

While the ongoing Dodger soap opera has seen the divorce of two co-owners, the bankruptcy of the team, the exit of manager Don Mattingly and the trade of former all-star Matt Kemp, Ethier has endured. I think he deserves a little more respect this time around, for his leadership-by-example and his consistent play over the years.

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About The Author

JD is a lifelong California native and currently writes for a subsidiary newspaper under the umbrella of The Madera Tribune. A passionate sports fan, JD loves the Dodgers along with the L.A. Kings, Lakers and Green Bay Packers.

11 Responses

  1. Tmaxster

    JD good article thank you. I appreciate the salary numbers of Gordon etc. Yes in today’s market Ethier is not a bad deal. I would still platoon in in left as he does not hit left handed pitching that well and we have guys on the bench like SVS that do. 
    If we did not have such a capable bench I would play Ethier daily. I would also think about sitting Puig from time to time against some pitchers to get Crawford in the line up and move Andre to right field. 
    That depends of course on which Puig we get this year…

    Reply
  2. Giantkiller

    There’s no possible way you can argue that Ethier should be in there vs. lefties.

    His numbers went up dramatically last year because the Dodgers finally started using him correctly.  He’s like a blind squirrel trying to find a nut when it comes to hitting lefties. Sure he’s going to find one every now and then, but there are much better options.

    Like Tmaxster said, SVS is they guy the Dodgers should be playing vs. lefties.  If anyone has a right to complain, I’d argue that it is SVS.  That guy surely deserves more playing time.

    Reply
  3. AlwaysCompete

    JD great article.  I have been steadfast in my praise for Ethier as a great Dodger.  He’s not a HOF player, but he has had a very good and productive 10 year career (thus far) all with the Dodgers.  He has had one bad (or questionable) year during his tenure.  I had the actual audacity to also compare Ethier to Gordon when many were calling for LA to sign him, and was summarily chastised.  I still will take Ethier to Gordon.  Ethier is a Dodger and Gordon is a Royal and that is how it should be. But if Ethier can be packaged for a legit #2, and not have to pay any $$$, why not?  But the Dodgers are in the catbird seat on this one, and they should only get plus value (not just comparable) for a great Dodger.

    Reply
  4. JDTheRoadrunner

    AlwaysCompete I appreciate the feedback. Yes, he still struggles against lefties, but his success against right handers offsets his shortcomings considerably. He’s batting .304 against RHP and .234 against LHP lifetime. He isn’t entirely hopeless against lefties, but sure. He’ll probably sit against left handed-starters.
    But the idea that Ethier is dead weight and overpaid needs to be curbed, at least. I think he is still a guy who can hit 25 homers and bat .280, which is well worth the money.

    Reply
  5. pauldodgerfan1965

    AlwaysCompete
    I agree in that Ethier has been a solid player in his 10 years here and Mattingly certainly didn’t handle him well at times within the last few years, sometimes throwing him under the bus.  If any OF is worthy anything close to what he’s being paid it’s that darn Crawford, or as I like to call him the “gimpy legged Crawfish’!   Now that is an OF Dodgers MUST dump and soon!

    Reply
  6. pauldodgerfan1965

    Giantkiller
    And with all that perhaps SVS could get more playing time if Dodgers can somehow unload Crawford, who is LH too, but it would clear up the OF log jam anyway.

    Reply
  7. JDTheRoadrunner

    pauldodgerfan1965 AlwaysCompete I agree. Crawford is the money pit of all baseball players. lol

    Reply

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