It seems that everyone has a “side” in the Andre Either saga. My “side” is simple in that I have always felt that Andre Ethier was a “soft” player and now it appears that he is even softer (especially between the ears).
Who really is Andre Ethier?
MikeSciosca’sTragic Illness sums up very well who he is:
[Andre's] a nearly 30, less than a star-level hitter who can’t hit lefties, doesn’t play outstanding defense, and is a bit too vocal with his criticisms – particularly since Kemp and Clayton Kershaw both need to be taken care of…
It seems that some of you want to use this as an example of how Frank McCourt has somehow again messed up the Dodgers. I am going to say that this has nothing to do with McCourt, and maybe something to do with Stan Conte, and by connection, Ned Colletti. One of the most respected medical doctors in MLB is Dr. Frank Jobe, who is an advisor to the Dodgers and is still on the Dodgers payroll. The Dodger’s team physican is Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who also is very well respected. Andre Ethier’s knee situation has little to do with them and more to do with a disgruntled RF who felt he should have gotten an extension like Chad Billingsley this past spring.
The fact is that TJ Simers may be gone from the team for 4 or 5 days and then he swoops in, gets a few sound bites and writes a column based upon his prosuctorial-type of interrogation (interviewing) techniques. Simers is as good as any prosecutor as he unleashes his bevy of questions, designed to confuse and trip-up the intended target. To someone like Mr. Softee (in the head) this can be confusing. Andre didn’t dispute what Simers said, so I am going to assume that he wasn’t misquoted.
What is more telling is what the beat writers who cover the team on a daily basis and others close to the team think about Andre Ethier. I’ll give you a clue – it’s s five letter word that starts with P and ends in K. A lot of his teammates buy in to that theory as well.
Does Andre want to leave the Dodgers? Tony Jackson quotes Andre on that very thing:
“I just hope they bring me back. You look around, and obviously this is a great situation. It’s still a great organization, no matter what is going on, on or off the field. Obviously, a lot of things need to be changed … for the future, not only for the players, but for the team and the fans.”
Yes, even Ray Charles can see that.
Jackson went on to say this:
The obvious message Ethier was trying to get across that day was that he wasn’t feeling that the Dodgers were committed to him. Fast forward to this weekend, to another Ethier firestorm that on its face was completely unrelated to that first one, and it now sounds as though Ethier might not be all that committed to them, either.
As it stands, Ethier won’t be eligible for free agency until after 2012. But is he trying to force his way out of town a year early? That’s my theory. I don’t have enough insight to know for a fact that it’s true, or that it isn’t. That’s why they call it a theory. But I have to say, when you take the statements Ethier made in March, and to Simers this weekend, and put them together, it sure smells that way.
Could it be that Ethier is trying to become such a distraction that the Dodgers, rather than going through the expensive process of arbitration this winter — he already is making $9.25 million this season and would get a significant raise — will simply non-tender him, making him a free agent a year early?
One thing is clear: if it’s a distraction Ethier is trying to become, he is at least succeeding there. Mattingly made that fairly obvious before Sunday’s game, when he said he was “blindsided” by Ethier’s remarks. He made it clear again during the game when, with the bases loaded, nobody out, the pitcher’s spot due up and the Dodgers trailing 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, he sent Eugenio Velez — that would be the 0-for-28 Eugenio Velez — to pinch hit and kept Ethier on the bench.
Tony ends up by saying:
If Ethier is trying to outsmart the system, well, the one he is outsmarting might be himself. Let’s say he does force the Dodgers’ hand, and they do cut him loose, and he does become a free agent. In that case, how much of a market will there be for a guy who is coming off a down year? A guy who probably is going to be coming off arthroscopic knee surgery? A guy who so often lets his emotions get the better of his game? A guy who certainly isn’t helping his reputation with all these public outbursts, especially at a time when, according to various sources, scouts from other teams are starting to pick up on his moodiness and the fact he can be high maintenance?
Better yet, what if the Dodgers simply trade him? In that case, there is just as much chance he ends up in Kansas City or Pittsburgh as the promised land of New York or Boston, which his close friend and former Arizona State University teammate Dustin Pedroia reportedly has told him is a great place to play big league baseball.
In the end, if you’re the Dodgers, your best bet might be to hold onto Ethier for at least one more year, even if it costs you in the neighborhood of $11 million to do so. Other factors, such as the bankruptcy and McCourt’s shaky finances, could force them to let Ethier go. But if the Dodgers can keep him, assuming his tendency to pop off in the media doesn’t become a debilitating distraction, they probably can count on him to put up at least decent numbers in 2012 because it is his “walk” year, with certain free agency to come at the end.
That is a decision that doesn’t have to be made for a few more months. But it is hard not to get the impression Ethier has already made up his mind which way he would vote, if he actually had a say in the matter.
Listening to Mattingly, it was hard not to get the impression that if the poll had been taken Sunday, he might have voted the same way.
Steve Dilbeck of THE LA TIMES had this to report about the Ethier Saga:
Ethier said he likely will have surgery in the off-season, so naturally many wonder why the Dodgers don’t just call it a season for him now and have the surgery.
“I’m fine with that, if that’s what everybody wants to do,” Mattingly said. “It’s his choice, he wants to play. I mean, it’s always been his choice. If he felt like it was something he couldn’t play with, then we wouldn’t keep playing him. Whatever we have to do, it is what it is.
“If it makes sense to do that, and that’s what everybody wants to do, and everybody thinks that’s the right thing, then that’s what we’ll do.”
And therein lies the rub: Andre’s knee may be painful, but he does not risk further damage by playing. That’s all you need to know. Well, maybe not all – Mattingly was blinsided by Andre’s comments, which means that this was the first he had heard of what Simers wrote.
Carl Erskine said that he hurt his arm early in his rookie season and pitched the rest of his career in pain, however Carl was not “too cool for school” and didn’t have the pretty head of hair that Andre has. Carl was a Warrior – something that Andre knows nothing about.
- If James Loney keeps up his hitting, the Dodgers will tender both Loney and Ethier and hope they both play their butts off in their walk years!
- If Andre has to play for a contract he might be more focused on the baseball and less on his hairstyle and other things.
- Andre should take a tip from Matt Kemp who has been as focused as any player I’ve seen.
- Clayton Kershaw is currently the Cy Young front-runner.
- Oh… and I think Conte and Colletti should both depart, even if Frank stays.