Andre Ethier Taking Reps At 1st Base


Aug 8, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier (16) drives in a run with an infield hit in the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. At left is Milwaukee Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado (12). Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

That’s “reps” as in repetitions. Repetitions as in Andre Ethier is going to attempt to learn first base. Now before one gets into the purpose of such a move, it’s important to understand the context. Not only is first base taken up by a horribly declining Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier’s power decided to take a permanent leave of absence the day he signed the contract extension on June 12th, 2012.
Seriously let’s look at

before his extension: .291/.363/.481

after: .268/.345/.410

Pretty drastic, that slugging percentave is depression inducing. I mean of course you need to adjust for offensive environment, better pitching entering the league, overall player decline, but wow the coincidental decline couldn’t have come at a worst time for the fan favorite.

Do I really believe that Andre Ethier’s contact extension caused him to decline? Not really. Is it still frustrating? Of course it is. Before the contract he was hitting like a first baseman (playing defense like one too), post extension, he’s hitting like a centerfielder, and still playing defense like a first baseman.

So obviously the decline hasn’t been great for his career in the outfield considering there are 3 other immovable objects playing regularly for the Dodgers there, and apparently Don Mattingly is working with Ethier to try to expand his positional flexibility. Ethier hasn’t had a great season, the Dodgers aren’t going to put the also declining Carl Crawford anywhere other than LF (you hear anything from the doomed campaign to put him in centerfield?), Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig are immovable (for the right reasons), valuable right handed, power hitting bats, and part of the team’s core so first base could potentially lengthen Dre’s career as a Dodger. Oh. Adrian Gonzalez exists?

Well the last thing the Dodgers need are 2 declining first baseman who can’t hit left handed pitching.

And besides, Ethier still would only be the 3rd best first baseman on the Dodgers roster behind Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Van Slyke, so the only thing I could really think about is they’re prepping Ethier for what has been an inevitable “sell low trade” to a team with serious outfield and first base issues?

Personally I would like to see Andre Ethier starting in left and Carl Crawford benched for eternity, but the team seems dead set on Crawford getting his fair share of playing time in left. I don’t know. This doesn’t exactly help his chances at staying in a dodger uniform, but I suppose it makes him more appealing as a baseball player to another team even if he’s in serious decline.