As the rumors run rampant of a Mariner trade with the Dodgers for Andre Ethier, I thought that it might prove useful to take a close look at this player who most of have seen just a few times.
What do we know?
Andre Everett Ethier
Bats: Left, Throws: Left
Height: 6' 2", Weight: 205 lb.
Born: April 10, 1982 in Phoenix, AZ
Career Slashline: .290/.362/.476/.838
Career slashline against righties: .311/.387/.526/.913
Career slashline against lefites: .238/.296/.352/.649
Career slashline at home (Dodger Stadium): .309/.378/.525/.903
Career Slashline on the road (NL): .272/.347/.429/.775
Over his career (7 seasons), Ethier has hit:
- 129 homeruns
- 231 doubles
- 19 triples
Also, Ethier has:
- Struckout 678 times
- Walked 378 times
On-base, Ethier has:
- Stolen 21 bases
- Caught stealing 20 times
Annual average, Ethier can be expected to:
- Appear in 143.29 games
- Have 569 plate appearances
- Collect 146 hits
- Crank 18.43 homeruns
- Smack 33 doubles
- Luck into 2.71 triples
- Get rung up (K) 96.86 times
- Take a free pass (BB) 54 times
Signed current contract on the 12th of JUne, 2012. Contract is for $85M over 5 years
'13 - $13.5M
'14 - $15.5M
'15 - $18.0M
'16 - $16.0M
'17 - $18.0M
The contract also includes a 2018 club option, but the 2018 season becomes guaranteed if Ethier has 550 plate appearances in 2017, or, 1,100 plate appearances during the 2017 and 2018 seasons (don't ask, I can't explain it. This is per COTS.).
What does all that tell us/me/whatever?
That is a lot of data to digest in one sitting, so let me distill it down a bit. Here are the things that we can take for granted based upon what can be found above:
- Being left-handed will be an advantage for Ethier if he is to play at Safeco Field.
- Being 30 years old, he is probably on the backside of his career and a measure of degredation of his skills can be expected.
- He is not overly large
- Over all, his body of work as displayed by his career slashline has been pretty damn good.
- He has a rather large and pronounced left-right split.
- He performs much better at home than he does on the road.
- He is durable
- His career annual average strikeout rate of 17% is acceptable
- His career annual average walk rate of 9.5% is near acceptable
- His career annual average batting eye of .558 (BB/K) tells me that his plate discipline is OK. Not great, but Ok none-the-less.
- His homerun, doubles, and triples numbers are not those of a "big bat".
- His salary for the next 5-6 years is staggering (IMHO) and out of proportion to the Ethier's performance.
Pulling it all together
I don't think that I have to explain how being left-handed is a good thing while playing at Safeco Field, so I'm not going to waste any bandwidth with that aspect. What I will comment on though is that I believe that there is still a need for a dependable right-hand bat in the batting order to help break up all of the lefties that the M's will run out in 2013.
I really wish that Ethier was 28 years old and not 30, but if wishes were horses Safeco Field would be a pasture filled beyond capacity, and not a baseball field...
I don't know why, but I was under the assumption that Ethier had a bit more size to him. I mean, when you see his absolute lack of any speed as illustrated by his low stolen base numbers, and the amount of times he has been gunned down, it brings to my mind a large plodding player like Montero.
Looking at Ethier's yearly game appearances, it looks like Ethier has not suffered any sort of major injury. Doing some quick research all I could find was a broken pinky in 2010, a knee issue in 2011, and an oblique strain in 2012.
Interestingly, in the second half of the 2011 season, Ethier was quoted as saying that his production was down because of a knee injury that he had been suffering from all season long, and implied that the Dodgers were forcing him to play. The result of this bombshell was a meeting between Manager Don Mattingly, GM Ned Colletti, and Ethier. After the meeting Ethier backed away from his comments and stated that he chose to play on the gimpy knee.
Ethier's left-right batting splits aren't surprising since most players have some sort of disparity between the two, but Ethier's is more than pronounced, it's jaw dropping. A 25% drop in batting average and on-base percentage isn't good, but a 33% drop in slugging is much, much worse. Red flags should (and have) be raised due to Ethier's lefty-righty split.
Here's the thing that makes me scratch my head. I'm having a hard time resolving Ethier's home-road split. You may, or may not know this, but Dodger Stadium is a pitcher friendly park. Using the numbers supplied at espn.com
, for every run that the Dodgers scored on the road they scored .875 runs at home. This is not an extreme delta like what is found at Safeco Field (for every road run the Mariners scored .687 runs at home), but it is significant.
So, in such an environment, how has Ethier done as well as he has? Maybe the park plays better for left handers over righies much like Safeco Field does. If that is the case then you would expect to see the Dodger lineup stacked with lefties. This really isn't the case. Just this last season in the big trade with Boston, LA brought in lefties Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to join Ethier and.... well... nobody else of note to hit from the left side. It isn't exactly scientific, but this tells me a lot about how Dodger Stadium plays for lefites, which isn't optimal.
Over at baseballamerica.com they have the results of a 3 year study
to determine which hand plays better at each MLB park. Here's how Dodger Stadium faired:
To my very untrained eye, that looks pretty nuetral as far as handedness goes, so maybe my original assertion as to Dodger Stadium playing better for lefties doesn't apply, so the head scratching continues. James Loney manned 1st base for the Dodgers for a long time and is also bats from the left-hand side. Loney also has a home-road split, but it's exactly opposite of Ethier's.
If you are able to look beyond Ethier's looney tunes contract, you'll see a player who screams platoon. Put him up against a right-handed pitcher and he becomes a world beater. Send him up against a leftie and he is just a touch better than Brendan Ryan. Thankfully, there are a lot more right-handed pitchers than left, so at least Ethier's platoon split plays to his favor (sort of). As a platoon bat who plays above average defense in right field, Ethier has a lot of value to a team like the Mariners who have an effective right-handed batter in Casper Wells to platoon with.
Still, the contract that Ethier brings has to be taken into consideration, and even though the M's have money to spend I gag at the thought of paying a platoon bat anything north of $6M.
The only way that I can see the Mariners acquiring Ethier without hamstringing themselves in the process is if the Dodgers eat at least $10M a year of his contract.