The Los Angeles Dodgers get: Andre Ethier on a 5-year, $85 million dollar extension
Yesterday afternoon, the Los Angeles Dodgers tied up their All-Star, Silver-Slugging, Gold-Gloving left fielder to a massive contract extension that will prevent him from slipping into free agency just five months from now.
According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, his extensions will break down as follows: $13.5m in 2013, $15.5m in 2014, $18m in 2015, $18m in 2016, $17.5m in 2017, and a (supposedly easily attained) $17.5m vesting option or $2.5m buyout in 2018.
Ethier’s contract will now last until his age 36 season, if all goes to plan. This contract is the third-largest in Dodgers franchise history, only trailing Kevin Brown’s $105 million deal and of course, Matt Kemp’s newly inked $160 million pact signed just months ago. LA’s offensive core should be set almost until the next decade, presuming good health and the extended development of young shortstop Dee Gordon.
The early thought on this is pretty simple: that’s a lot of money and years for a guy who’s never had an OPS over .900, has been noticeably injured the past two years (though his 2010 season was skunked by a broken pinkie from a errant pitch) and is on the rough side of 30.
Comparably, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones just signed a $85.5 million, 6-year deal with even more mediocre stats: besides his breakout 2 months of 2012, he’s never broken an .800 OPS or played in a relevant regular season game in his career. Until this season, he’s been an average to slightly-better-than-average player, but nothing more than that. He’s made one All-Star team (mostly out of default – being an average to slightly-better-than-average player on the Baltimore Orioles will help) and won a Gold Glove based mostly on his sheer athleticism rather than his actual play in center field (he has one of the biggest “ranges” in the league, and yet has led the league in errors for a CF this and the previous two seasons). In short, Adam Jones has been a steady, decent player whose largely getting paid for 2 months of fulfilled potential. It could be a foolish signing, but then again, if you’re the Orioles, how do you not pay one of your three decent players? In baseball, money just isn’t money. It’s relative to the situation. And the O’s situation is awful.
The primary difference here between Jones and Ethier is that Baltimore’s guy is a 26 year-old whose power stroke that scouts have been waiting for just kicked into place. Andre is a 30 year-old whose effort and performance have varied throughout his five years with the Dodgers. That fact alone is enough for anyone to pause at this contract.
However, it’s hard not to call this a win for Los Angeles, for a few reasons:
This was somehow a discount
Two years ago, the Washington Nationals wildly overpaid Jayson Werth with a seven-year, $126 million contract. Matt Holliday was similarly signed by the St. Louis Cardinals for seven years, $120 million, even though they had no apparent bidders within $20 million of them. Despite never hitting 20 homers in a season, Carl Crawford was given one of the largest deals for a position player ever, when the Boston Red Sox bestowed him with a seven year, $142 million dollar deal.
All three of these outfielders were around 30 years old….same as Ethier. Of the three, only Holliday has career accomplishments that eclipse those of Andre’s seven year career, with Crawford and Werth never fin… Read more...