Around The Web: Andre Ethier Extension Reaction

Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness: Mike Petriello once feared the exact deal that Andre Ethier signed, and while he holds some concerns, he finds it hard to argue against the deal.

What interests me more right now is trying to figure out just how much a big 2012 could enhance Ethier’s value on the market, because there’s a big difference between a deal for, say, 3/$36m (which I’d certainly love to do) and something more like 5/$85m (which I’d run away screaming from).

So the end result, in my view, is that the Dodgers paid a fair price to lock up one of the two best and most popular hitters on their team, a player with his share of flaws, but one who provides a service which couldn’t easily be replaced on the open market or via trade. I’m slightly apprehensive about the idea of Ethier being a $100m type player, yet I suppose I can’t really argue with the logic behind the move.

So he thinks they got market value, that it helps public relations, and that it was the best fit.

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Baseball Prospectus: R.J. Anderson thinks the deal is fair.

No extension is complete without hemming and hawing over the financial figures. Ethier is being rewarded handsomely for being a consistently good player (his Wins Above Replacement Player totals seem locked in around three wins per season). Is Ethier worth this kind of investment? It isn’t an easy question to answer. Consider the Dodgers’ perspective. These are new owners taking over a club whose previous owner soured the fan base. Fan morale should be improved thanks to the club’s first-place standing, but locking up a large part of the team’s recent good times gains public relations points, too.

Here’s something else to consider: the Dodgers know their own budget the best, and also know that the league might be flush with cash this offseason. It’s possible, not likely but possible, that Ethier’s deal looks prudent should teams splurge this offseason.

Even if the deal doesn’t win awards for being the most efficient usage of resources, the Dodgers should be happy to retain Ethier’s bat for an additional five or six seasons.

He believes the team may have gotten market value, that it will help public relations, and that it may prove to be a solid fit.

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FanGraphs: Dave Cameron thinks it’s an overpay but that the team should have the finances to overcome it, rendering the overpay meaningless.

From an abstract point of view, Ethier’s not worth this contract, but when you consider the Dodgers specific financial position, the team’s attempts to rebuild credibility with an alienated fan base, and the fairly minor scope of the overpay, this just isn’t something that anyone should get all that worked up over. The Dodgers paid a nice player a little bit more than he’s worth in order to keep him, and the difference probably won’t have much of an impact on their ability to do anything else. It’s an overpay, but an irrelevant one that shouldn’t garner all that much criticism.

He thinks the Dodgers paid over market value for Ethier, that it will help public relations, and that the future budget will take care of the overpay.

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True Blue LA: Eric Stephen takes a different approach to looking at the contract and compares Ethier to similar players.

Sammy Sosa, Jim Edmonds, and Carlos Beltran were the only three of the bunch to improve in their age 31-35 seasons. This group collectively averaged 2,844 plate appearances from age 26-30, and averaged 2,216 PA from ages 31-35, a 22.1% drop, with only three of the 13 players accumulating more PA as they aged. Four of the 13 players didn’t even make it to their age-35 season.

There is a fair amount of risk that Ethier could fall off a cliff from a production standpoint, with fellow Dodgers right fielder Shawn Green providing a prime example. But if Ethier does decline, the Dodgers are hoping for more Magglio Ordonez and less Trot Nixon.

You should go look at the chart, it’s interesting and much better than the similarity scores from Baseball Reference.

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Baseball Nation: Grant Brisbee makes the case that the message behind the deal was more important than the deal itself.

Maybe the Dodgers overpaid, and maybe they assumed a lot of risk with the Ethier deal. It’s not a bad deal, especially when you think of Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford as possible corner-outfield comps. But the Dodgers were sending a message just as much as they were trying to build a 2014 roster. If Magic Johnson is to be believed, the message will have several parts, and they’ll all be expensive. That’s the brand of the new Dodgers. It just happened to kick off with some old Dodgers.

This is yet another analysis of the contract that mentions the public relations angle, which is an interesting way to look at the deal. I actually didn’t think much of it before, but laid out like this, yeah, I can see how this might influence their decision to give him what he wanted, even if it is a little over market value.

Whether I agree with that logic is a different story though.

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Dodger Thoughts: Jon Weisman is upbeat about the outcome of the contract.

It’s hard to get a true bargain with established stars — which is why it was so wonderful for the Dodgers that Ethier (acquired as a minor leaguer from Oakland in 2005) and Matt Kemp emerged from their farm system in the first place. On some level, if the Dodgers can avoid with Ethier what happened with the Toronto Blue Jays and Vernon Wells, they should be happy. A major hope of the new ownership is that it won’t have to penny-pinch. As long as Ethier remains a reasonably productive player and not an albatross, the Dodgers and their fans should be happy to have him, even if he ends up pocketing something more than he’s worth.

He thinks that it’s probably an overpay, but it’ll be fine if he doesn’t become terrible.

Well yeah, but I think the risk that he does become terrible is built into the analysis of the deal, no? I mean, if I could rule out the possibility of attrition, then yeah, I love the deal.

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ESPN: Uh, I guess Keith Law couldn’t even be bothered to write an article on it, but it’s probably safe to say he doesn’t like it.

I don’t think many are quite at this end of the spectrum.

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All in all, most seem to agree that’s he’s getting a deal that’s over market value and that there are concerns about regression as he ages. However, their concerns are mitigated primarily due to public relations reasons or because of the assumed budget.

The public relations angle is wonderful, and the expanding budget is part of the reason I’m somewhat neutral on the deal. However, all I care about is the Dodgers being a quality team again, so call me heartless or whatever, but I couldn’t care less about public relations or the loyalty of the fans or how many people would cry if Ethier wasn’t re-signed.

All I want to know is whether or not the deal was worth it from a baseball perspective, and judging by most of the analysis purely from that angle, the consensus seems to be that the jury is still out and they will be that way for a while.

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