Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Everyone Else is Writing About Ethier, So Why Not Pile On?

Steve Dilbeck put out a piece yesterday in the LA TImes blog saying that the Dodgers should sign the always moody Andre Ethier to a multi-year deal now before he becomes a free agent at the end of this season.  He makes a good point that they could probably ink him to a favorable multi-year deal now since he's coming off a sub par injury plagued season.  Adding that if he gets off to a tear this year, he just might price himself out of the Dodger market.

Mike Petriello opines that Andre needs to have a successful year to sign for decent money in 2013.  He believes that for Ethier personally, this may be his big chance for a big payday, and that there aren't many players of his caliber that will be available on the free agent market.

I'm sure I'll take some heat for my opinion here but as much as I think a lot of Ethier and will admit that he is probably one of the greatest clutch hitters that ever wore a Dodger uniform, I believe that signing Andre to a long term deal might be a bad idea.  Here’s why:
  1. He can’t hit southpaws.  Look at the numbers.  They are so bad that it makes perfect sense to platoon Ethier and have him only face righties,.  For  2011 his numbers against left handed pitching were: .220 BA, .258 OBP, .305 SLG, 1 homer in 151 PA.  Previous seasons aren't much better.  As much as I believe Larry Bowa was a negative influence on the Dodger clubhouse during his tenure as their third base coach, he was spot on accurate a year ago in January when talking about the Dodgers 2010 season.  He made the following statement on the MLB network before last season began: “Loney and Ethier hit a total of five home runs last year off left handed pitching.  It got so bad from the 7th inning on, all the other manager would do was bring in another left hander to face them, in the middle of an inning, it didn’t matter who, because they struggled.”  
  2. His defense is shaky.  Yes, I know he got the gold glove award, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how unless voters are basing it solely on fielding percentage, which for Ethier was 1.000 in 2011. The reality of the situation is that Ethier’s defense has been suspect for years.  Yes, he can hold his own, but it has never been much to write home about.    I’ll admit that his UZR improved in 2011, but we all know he is best suited as a left fielder and for some crazy reason, he carries enough clout on this team to be granted the right field slot without question.   And that pouting that Ethier does to get his way is addressed in my fourth point below.
  3. The Dodgers have Jerry Sands waiting in the wings who proved in September that he is ready to step in and be a respectable power hitter in the big leagues.  Additionally Jerry runs better, fields better and potentially will have more power.  Ideally, the Dodger outfield should be Sands in right, Kemp in center and Ethier in left, but with Rivera signed for big dollars, Sands may unfortunately be heading back to Albuquerque.
  4. Ethier has foot in the mouth disease and pouts when unhappy. He said at the eve of opening day last season that “this might be my last year as a Dodger,” insinuating he might be non-tendered after the season...which was a ridiculous assumption.  He later hinted that he wanted to play with his buddy Pedroia in Boston  at the trade deadline.  He whined to T.J. Simers that Dodger management was forcing him to play hurt (which was news to Mattingly).  It’ll be interesting if Mattingly is able to put being backstabbed in the public eye behind him, because he was obviously perturbed by Ethier’s comments last August saying :“I talked to ’Dre about it to see if he felt that the way it came out was accurate. To me, the way I read it, was that ’Dre’s been telling us he can’t play and we just said: ‘Well, you’re playing, anyway.’ And that’s definitely not the case. I would never do that. That’s not part of my DNA. To me, that takes a shot at my integrity, the organization, the training staff, and Ned. But it really gets back to me, personally — that I would put a guy out there that was hurt and was taking a shot at hurting his career. I would never do that. And I told ’Dre that, too.”   Ethier, for being a veteran guy, hasn’t learned to keep is mouth shut at the appropriate moments.
  5. Turning 30 years old in April, his best years are behind him.  Statistics prove it.  The peak years are 26-28.  Ethier is the perfect example of those being peak years for most major league players, because that has been the experience of his career.
  6. Last year he proved to be is injury prone.  The pinky finger and then the knee.  Hopefully 2011 was an anomaly on his career and is not a sign of things to come.

I’ll admit though, Andre is one of my favorites.  He cares, he wants to win and he is gritty.  I want nearly all of my six points above to be wrong (the exception being Jerry Sands playing every day), but a lot of things will have to fall into place for Andre to step outside the norm and have a spectacular 2012.
 You’ll meet no nicer Dodger when signing for the fans.  I have seen him with children and he's great.   He gives of his time and he's an exceptional role model.  I just wish he could hit lefties.

1 comment:

  1. Everything you say here about Ethier is like reading my own words, everything is true, I wish I could write like you. The only difference is, I feel not hitting lefties is the only important thing, I hope this can improve. Everything else IMO is trivial and not important and if people are worried about his attitude or personality, there's something rotten in Denmark and at thirty I think he still has some good years ahead of him. I just hate to see him have them elsewhere.