Well the new ownership finally pulled the trigger! Andre Ethier will be a Los Angeles Dodger for the next five (probably six) years! A lot of people are skeptical because his best season was in 2009 when he hit .272 with 31 homers and 106 RBI. He's also in his seventh big league season and only reached the 150-game plateau twice.
Okay, so the fears are justified. But me? I'm an optimist, and a believer. I believe that Ethier has had some extremely bad luck and is one of the best hitters in the league when healthy. To prove myself right, let me present...this year's National League RBI leader, Andre Ethier.
Injury-free and without the weight of contract negotiations on his shoulders, Ethier will thrive. He's been putting up monster numbers with his partner-in-crime Matt Kemp sidelined for a quarter of the season. Imagine what he'll do in the second half with Kemp back in front of him.
Now, 'Dre is 31 years old. That means we have him signed for the typical downhill portion of a big league player's prime. He'll be a Dodger until he's at least 36.
I truly believe he has .290/25/110 ability even into his mid-30's. Getting him for $17 million a year at that production would be an absolute steal in today's market. Remember, A-Rod is getting paid $28 million a year to hit .265/25/100 in a better lineup. Just sayin'.
One thing that stands out is his defense. You can't put a price tag on a Gold Glove, which he won last year for National League right fielders. He has an underrated arm, and while he doesn't make a ton of highlight-reel catches, Ethier was errorless last year.
And let us not forget that he is undoubtedly the most clutch player in baseball. I believe his six walk-off hits in 2009 (including a MLB record-tying four walk-off home runs) and resulting fan-voted award will back me up on that.
If he even has three walk-off hits per year (definitely not out of the realm of possibility considering he just HAS that clutch gene), and the Dodgers win the NL West by two games...well, seems like a pretty solid deal to me.
Just as I'm sure Juan Uribe is the worst player in the history of baseball, I'm sure that the deal to keep Ethier in L.A. through 2017 was a smart one. Just imagine: the combination of Kemp and Ethier. In Dodger Blue. For at least five more years. That's just music to my ears.
Next up, Clayton Kershaw! Please?