Should The Los Angeles Dodgers Extend Andre Ethier?

Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times wrote yesterday that if the Los Angeles Dodgers are confident that Andre Ethier will return to form, they should extend him before the 2012 season begins.

If the Dodgers believe in Andre Ethier, if they are confident he will rebound and have a successful 2012 season, they need to sign him to a long-term contract. Like soon.

If they wait and he puts together another season like he did in 2009 (31 homers, 92 runs, 106 runs batted in) or even approaches a full season like the start he was off to in 2010 before breaking his pinkie, it could either cost them a serious amount of dough or his services completely.

It’s a risk worth taking, and I know when talking about the moody Ethier, risk is inherent.

Basically the premise is that the Dodgers brass should strike while Ethier’s value is lowest, much like I suggested they do with Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley before they had their bounce-back seasons.

So before you suggest he’s crazy to come up with the idea, realize that it does make sense, in theory. With that said, I just don’t agree with the individual it’s being used on.

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This has less to do with Ethier personally, despite his ornery nature of late (giving the middle finger randomly, complaining publicly, inferring he’d rather be on another team), and more to do with the timing of the whole thing.

Sure, I had faith in the talents of Kemp and Billingsley, and I felt the same way about Clayton Kershaw as well, but the one constant with all those players was the emphasis on locking up young and talented players well into their primes.

At the time of their respective suggested extensions, Kemp was going to be 26, Billingsley was going to be 25, and Kershaw was going to be 23. Ethier? He’s about to turn 30.

So while I’ve always liked Ethier, as he felt a part of the young core, the timing is all wrong for me. Locking up a corner outfielder with a four year declining trend in wOBA, mediocre defense (despite the joke of a Gold Glove), the inability to hit lefties, and questionable athleticism just isn’t a risk I’d feel comfortable with. Sorry, but when I look at the type of player Ethier is, I can’t help but envision Brad Hawpe and his precipitous decline at age 31.

So while the idea itself is built on solid logic, I don’t think it’s right for the situation that Andre Ethier currently finds himself in.

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