Andre Ethier Watch 2015 Continues


Remember that article I wrote about Dodger outfielder Andre Ethier still being here back in December? Well, he’s still here. Ethier reported to Spring Training at Camelback Ranch this week, and Dre at first decided not to address the media while settling in.

Later on Andre Ethier met with Don Mattingly, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi.

Many thought (or perhaps hoped) that Ethier would have been traded away by now. With Joc Pederson ready to make his mark on the majors this season, it all but seemed that Andre Ethier was to be pushed to the bench or traded before the Dodgers met in Glendale, Arizona this Spring.

Whether the Dodgers tried to trade Ethier isn’t the question, but instead the question now is where will Ethier play? Don Mattingly has said that Ethier has an opportunity to win a starting spot on the team just like Pederson or anyone else. Zaidi hasn’t concretely stated that Pederson will be the Dodgers Opening Day center fielder just yet after Joc’s less than impressive September call up last year. Ethier, who has admirably filled in at center for the Dodgers when Matt Kemp succumbed to disability, is most certainly a viable Plan B should Joc not pan out.

I shouldn’t have to remind you that Carl Crawford won’t play in 162 games.

Rumblings of Ethier being upset about the outfield situation are just that. Rumblings. There’s no evidence that Ethier has made a big hullabaloo about his starting job outlook. In fact, if anything Andre has been more than patient with the situation over the past few seasons, and he has been a respectful team member even when he butted heads with Mattingly in the past.

"“I never expect Andre to be a problem. He’s always been a professional. I think you have a understanding when a guy isn’t happy, not playing as much as he wanted to last year. I understand that. He was a pro about it,” Mattingly said. “We didn’t have a problem last year, I don’t think we’ll have a problem this year. If there is, we’ll just talk about it and deal with it.”"

Andre Ethier is now the longest-tenured Dodger. Matt Kemp has been traded away, but Ethier remains. I’m sad to realize that I will not have the opportunity to ever see Kemp and Ethier hit back-to-back in the lineup again. The Bison and Captain Clutch era may have come to an end, but Ethier is still around and ready to provide at the very least depth for the Dodgers both on the bench and in the outfield. Back on December 10, 2014 I tweeted out this gem:

Looks like I was right. At least for now.

I was disgusted to even think about Andre Ethier, one of my favorite current Dodgers, on another team. There were rumors about Ethier being a good fit for San Francisco (and also Baltimore), and I gagged at the thought.

If you have followed my writing for awhile (and have read my multiple posts about Ethier), then you could see how I have allowed myself to envision how moving on from Ethier would be extremely sad yet a necessary part of the evolution of this team. It’s hard to say goodbye, but I was ready to face the reality of Ethier’s offensive decline which is paralleling Joc Pederson’s upward career path.

He’s still here. Over the many years of Ethier trade speculations, I have been adamant that the Dodgers wouldn’t trade Ethier. At least not until Joc was ready. Yet I argue that Ethier still has a place on this team along side the new youth. Being the longest tenured Dodger on the major league team should bring with it some seniority. He should at least get the chance to prove his value this Spring, and it looks as though he will get that opportunity.

Andre Ethier is entering his 10th season as a Dodger, and I still get excited to see Dre play. Spring Training is long, and injuries can pop up at any time. While the center field job is essentially Joc’s to lose, things will get very interesting if Joc should struggle this Spring.

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  • Of course I want all the Dodgers to succeed. Even though Ethier understandably wants to have a starting role on the team, I think he does understand that the Dodgers are not going to waste Joc’s talents in triple-A any longer.

    Ethier feels that his offensive numbers were down last season, because he did not have the opportunity to get in that many games.

    "“I want the opportunity to play every day. My mind hasn’t changed from when I told you guys that a couple months ago,” Ethier said. “I felt like when I get a chance to play every day, I put up the numbers they ask of me. For some strange reason, it just happened that coming off a good 2012 season, in 2013 they took games away. You start to wonder why that happened. I feel like if I get a good full year in and get the at-bats, it starts to add up. It’s tough when you get 300 at-bats and you’re expected to hit 15 or 20 home runs.”"

    Even though Ethier’s offensive numbers have been in decline for awhile, you have to wonder how playing time does affect the success of players. I’ve seen Ethier get on many hot streaks over his career including his magnificent 30-game hitting streak of 2011. Ethier is definitely a player who benefits from playing on a daily basis, and you can’t blame him from wanting to get as much playing time as possible.

    Even though it looks as if the Opening Day outfield could be Carl Crawford in left field, Joc Pederson in center, and Yasiel Puig in right field, a lot can change between now and April 6th. For now, the Dodgers have  group of talented outfielders who could all play a part in this year’s team. Having a 10-year veteran with capabilities at all three outfield positions on your team is not exactly a bad thing.