After an off-season of trade speculation, Andre Ethier came into the 2013 season as the Dodgers’ primary right fielder looking to recapture his 2009 power stroke.
Regular Season Grade: B-
Ethier had another down season in terms of production but receives an admirable mark due to his team play and transition to center field. The left-handed hitter finished with a .272 batting average, 12 home runs and 52 RBI in 142 games. He also hit 33 doubles, extending his streak of seasons with at least 30 doubles to seven. The outfielder had a difficult start to the season that was highlighted in May when he was benched for a game by manager Don Mattingly.
After his benching, Ethier continued to struggle and was hitting .229 on June 10; however, the 31-year-old went on to hit .302 from that point forward with 23 doubles and 37 RBI. Outfielder Yasiel Puig was called up in June and assumed the everyday right field position, but with the injuries to Matt Kemp, Ethier began to play center field. He would end up starting 70 games in center field and provided above-average defense.
Although his overall numbers were down, Ethier provided stability in center once Kemp went down and finished the season strong, helping the Dodgers win the NL West title. He went down with an ankle injury towards the end of the season that carried into the postseason.
Playoff Grade: C-
The fact that Ethier even played in the postseason was worthy of recognition, as he was benched for a lack of fight in May. Ethier was relegated to pinch-hitting duties in the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves and was hitless in four chances. His status continued to improve as the Dodgers won the series in four games.
In the NLCS, Ethier started five of the six games, but struggled at the plate. He recorded just three hits in 20 at-bats for a .150 batting average with no extra-base hits or RBI. The 31-year-old was clearly hampered by the ankle but fought through it.
Overall Grade: C+
Even though Ethier wound up providing stability when Kemp went down, it’s hard to forget that Ethier is capable of hitting at least 20 home runs and driving in at least 80 runs in a season. He did continue his streak of at least 30 doubles but regressed at the plate this season. Ethier took the move to center field in stride and showed his commitment to the team in the postseason.
It’s unclear whether Ethier will be returning next season, as the Dodgers may be looking to move one of their four outfielders, but he may be the odd man out even if he does return.
ICYMI: The Texas Rangers and Dodgers talked trade at the GM Meetings.