There’s been a lot of talk about Andre Ethier this spring. More so than the usual. He doesn’t have a position, and the Dodgers have tried to move him. There just isn’t a market for him. He’s too old, too declined, and making too much money. Like it or not, the Dodgers are stuck with him for the time being.
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And that’s ok. Ethier has kind of fallen out of favor with a lot of Dodger fans. I’m still surprised by how much hatred I see directed towards Ethier via twitter and social media. Some Dodger fans are angry with him. They’re angry at him primarily because he’s making a lot of money, and he’s in decline.
I find this anger somewhat odd though. First of all, I like Ethier. I always have and still do. So I am probably a bit biased. Ethier is in his tenth year with the Dodgers. That’s a long time to play with one club. Most players don’t spend five years with the same team nowadays, let alone a decade. I’ll always give him a little bit of the benefit of the doubt myself. This isn’t Brian Wilson coming to the Dodgers for three months and sucking. This is Ethier here. He’s been a Dodger since 2006. People forget all of the great memories, and walk-off moments he’s given us over the years. That’s worth at least a slight reprieve from the negativity that has surrounded him lately.
The thing is, Ethier is not some special snowflake. Players get old and decline all the time. It happens often. Even though Ethier has claimed that his decline is due to lack of playing time. That’s what they all will say. It’s due to age and injury. Again, it happens, and the majority of the time a player must come to terms and accept a lesser playing role. That or get traded to a club that can find him a position to play every day.
Call to the Pen
So there is no shame in Ethier being a bench player again. And that’s what he’s going to be in 2015. The Dodgers will probably keep trying to move him, but it is unlikely they will find a landing spot for him. Ethier is going to be on the bench in 2015. Accept it. Revel in it. Put your face in it and dive in. He’s not a bad guy to have on the bench. He can play all three outfield positions, even though he doesn’t consider himself a center fielder anymore.
Ethier has actually hit well off the bench throughout his career. As a pinch-hitter Ethier is batting .277 (26 for 94) with an .824 OPS , three home runs, and 25 runs batted in. He’s still a useful guy to have around.
As I wrote earlier, the Dodgers are probably going to have to make a choice between Scott Van Slyke, and Chris Heisey. Or in order to have both players on the roster, go with just one backup infielder. That is if Joc Pederson makes the club. However Ethier is unlikely to go anywhere, unless he is a throw in on a bigger trade.
Another thing is after this year, Ethier will be a ten and five man, giving him ten and five rights. Meaning he’s been in the majors for ten years, and with the same club for five consecutive years. Once that kicks in he can veto any trade. I know that 56 million dollars is a very expensive part time player. I never said it was ideal. However it is what it is. The Dodgers haven’t been able to find a taker for him. They probably won’t be able to.
Andre Ethier is going to be a part time player again in 2015, and that’s ok.