Good lord I hope this isn’t true. I just want to put these rumors to bed right here and now, but I can’t, and it’s irritating me. Just when I thought I knew what the Dodgers had planned for the off-season, they throw us a curve. According to a tweet from Buster Olney, the Dodgers are “Open to the idea of trading Andre Ethier this winter” Now what the hell does that mean?
Just a day ago, I thought I knew what the Dodgers had in mind this winter. There would be minimal moves and changes to the roster. GM Ned Colletti has said in recent weeks, that the Dodger’s primary shopping needs this hot stove will be focused on starting pitching and outfield depth. Ok fine right? I figured one or two starting pitchers, and acquire an outfielder, someone like a Tony Gwynn Jr., or a Scott Hairston type to provide bench depth, and that’s it. A few more roster tweaks, and we would be set. A nice boring off-season is kind of what I was looking forward too. Now with this news, I have to admit, we all know nothing. The truth is none of us know what Stan Kasten, and the Guggenheim group will do in their first winter as Dodger owners. It’s Kasten’s world, and we’re all just living in it.
Would the Dodgers really trade Ethier? At first I would say no, but then again, I said the same thing about the Adrian Gonzalez trade and then of course, he was traded like hours later. Literally. So I’m sure if I go on record as saying that the Dodgers will NEVER trade Ethier than on cue I’m sure he’ll be traded like ten minutes later. I believe that trading Andre Ethier would be a huge mistake for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers just signed him too. Back in the beginning of the 2012 season, the Dodgers inked Ethier to a five year 95 million dollar contract with two option years that will vest. Ethier can’t be a free agent until 2018, so if the Dodgers do trade him, they would have to find a team to take on his contract. Some are worried that by the end of the contract when Ethier is approaching his age 35 season that he’ll be in decline. Most teams would shy away from taking on Ethier’s contract.
Stacie and I are Ethier supporters on this blog. He’s been one of the best players the Dodgers have had in recent years, and he had another solid season for the Dodgers in 2012. Ethier batted .284 with a .351 OBP, hit 20 home runs and drove in 89 runs. He led the Dodgers in RBI, and was second to Matt Kemp in home runs. He is also a finalist for his second gold glove. After having knee surgery, he looked healthy for the first time in years.
There is more to the game than just numbers though. What Ethier has meant to the Dodgers over the last seven years or so can’t be put into monetary value. Yes I know Ethier is not a superstar, he is still very solid. There is nobody I trust in right field more than Andre Ethier. However despite all of Ethier’s amazing accomplishments, and walk-off moments, he has been the subject of much scrutiny from some select Dodger fans. Because some just are never happy. Somehow Ethier has been like a scapegoat for the Dodgers recent run of failure the last few years. This is a guy who had a 30-game hitting streak in 2011, and played for weeks with a blister the size of a quarter on his hands, and still hit nine home runs combined in August and September.
People still have been complaining about Ethier. They complain about his struggles with left handed pitching, and they complain about his defense. Yes I know that Ethier didn’t fare well against lefties this season. Ethier hit only .222 against southpaws, but did also hit .325 against righties. For whatever reason, Ethier hasn’t hit lefties well over the last few years, but you have to look at his overall contributions to the club which are priceless. People complain about his defense in right field. They say his defense is bad and he should be moved to left field, even though he could win his second straight gold glove. You can think whatever you want, but players win gold gloves for a reason. Only two other right fielders were nominated in the National League, it’s not a popularity contest. Ethier is a very good outfielder.
People also complain about Ethier’s temper. It’s well documented that Ethier has been a bit temperamental. The thing about Ethier is he is very competitive, and when he strikes out, or makes out, he gets upset about it. It’s something that Don Mattingly has already been working on with him. It was also Mattingly who advised Ethier to choke up on his bat to combat his humongous blister. Ethier listens to Donnie, and I would like to see Ethier stay and continue his work with Mattingly.
Another thing about Ethier is he is a very streaky hitter. He’s always been like that, and he’s going to go through his slumps. It happens to all players, but some guys are just really streaky. I guess you take the goods, you take the bad and there you have the facts of life.
Now if the Dodgers do trade Ethier, then who plays right field? I have no idea. The only thing I can think of is possibly the Dodgers are thinking of trying Cuban defector Yasiel Puig in right field. Although Puig is not playing in the Arizona fall league because of an elbow staff infection. Is Puig ready to take Ethier’s spot in right field? Or will the Dodgers go out and sign someone? Honestly the free agent market is slim pickens.
The Dodgers are unlikely to resign Shane Victorino, who will hit free agency, and they just declined the option on Juan Rivera. I’m going to assume the plan will remain the same. The Dodgers will open the 2013 season with Carl Crawford in left, Matt Kemp in center, and Andre Ethier in right field.
I hope they don’t trade Ethier. Does this rumor have any merit? The crazy truth is, I don’t know. The reality is we just don’t know what the new ownership is going to do in their first full winter as owners. Olney is an insider and a straight shooter, so normally his insights have at least some kind of truth to them, but I still can’t see this happening. Can you believe that there are only two position players left from the 2008-2009 NLCS teams? It’s true, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are the last two position players left over. That’s quite some turnover. I guess you could say no player is untouchable except for Kemp and Clayton Kershaw. We need players like Ethier. The fans need a couple of homegrown all-star players to stay with the team. This way the fans have players they can relate to and cheer for that have been with the team for a long time, and are easily recognizable as lifelong Dodgers. (Ethier actually came up in the Oakland A’s system but I digress).
This is probably just a rumor, and unlikely to happen, but we just don’t know. Hopefully the Dodgers do not trade Ethier. If that happens Stacie and I would be upset, he is a favorite of ours. So of course I admit I’m a bit biased in that regards. Will the Dodgers trade Andre Ethier? Lets hope they don’t, and if not, then I hope that all Dodger fans can learn to appreciate all of Andre Ethier’s contributions, and accomplishments as a Dodger. Ethier’s talent has been a priceless asset to the Dodgers, and he’s been a valuable member of the Dodger family for years now. If he is traded then he will be greatly missed by many Dodger fans. I wouldn’t trade Ethier for anyone, unless it were a blow me away type of trade. Do the right thing Kasten, please don’t trade Ethier. Here’s to hoping that Dre wears Dodger Blue for many years to come.