My my my, what a few walk-off home runs and a 30-game hit-streak will do to a man’s reputation in relation to his actual production.
After a pinkie injury cut short his 2010 campaign, which was shaping up to be a career year for Dre, 2011 began with a lack of power but improved on-base skills while hitting in front of Matt Kemp in the three-hole. During the aforementioned 30-game streak, he hit .397/.462/.560/1.022 with a wholly unsustainable .462 BABIP. However, his end of the season line was .292/.368/.421/.789. Not bad, of course, but not a guy you want to sign long-term as he quickly nears thirty years of age.
Yes, I realize he had a balky knee that led to an entirely humorous back-and-forth with the staff and management. That knee doesn’t take away from the fact that Ethier has never been a great fielder (career UZR/150 of -7.5) nor has he been able to hit southpaws (career .242/.302/.359/.661). At his age with the balky knee and a troubling decline in key areas ( 2010/2011: SLG % – .493, .421; wOBA – .367, .343; ISO – .201, .129; XBHs – 57, 41), Ethier is potentially living on borrowed time as both a solid offensive player and a Dodger.
In 2012, we have to simply hope for good health and his solid production of the past, or that he gets dealt for some younger pieces as another team takes a chance on him. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for at this point.
Others Of Note
8 Dodgers made an appearance in right field in 2011. Jerry Sands and Juan Rivera will be covered in full in the Left Field Season Review, while the rest of the motley bunch are undeserving of more words than these.
FUN FACTS: Jay Gibbons started 4 games in right, and Russ Mitchell played an inning at the position.