After about five hours and 12 innings, the Dodgers walked away from AT&T Park shaking their heads for many reasons.
The biggest one is the money they're paying a couple of guys who aren't earning anything close to their bottom dollar.
Those two guys are Andre Ethier and Brandon League, who both had chances to either get a lead or keep the game tied. Neither happened, and on Jackie Robinson Day throughout baseball, the Giants beat the Dodgers 3-2.
Let's start with Ethier (trust me, I'm anxious to get to League, but I'll hold off a few paragraphs). Ethier was 1-for-6 with a single in the fourth. That blistering night at the plate dropped his average to .213. Of his 10 hits, only one is for extra-bases (a solo home run), so his slugging is a paltry .277. Maybe worst of all, he got the start while Matt Kemp had to wait until the seventh to get into the game, something I'm sure he was just thrilled about.
Wait a minute, I was wrong. Worst of all is that Ethier is making $15.5 million this year, and is signed through 2017, and possibly 2018 because it's a vesting option. Remember when he extended for five years and $85 million, and we thought it was a good idea? It wasn't.
Needless to say, "Andre the Giant" is nowhere to be seen anymore. Two years ago he hit 20 homers and 89 RBIs, and those numbers dropped to 12 and 52 last year. I'm not sure he can even get to that this year. It's time for Don Mattingly to stop playing him so damn much. I'd rather see a guy like Scott Van Slyke start against a right-handed pitcher than Ethier. Yes, I know Van Slyke is a righty himself, but so what? Ether is hitting .243 against righties, so enough is enough. The magic in his bat is gone.
OK, now let's get to good old League. How appropriate is it that he's the one who took the loss after such a long game? Very, I'd say. This guy makes Ethier's contract look like a bargain. That's how utterly disastrous these last two years have been for him.
What pisses me off even more is what happened before the game. Brian Wilson was activated from the 15-day DL, and instead of Ned Colletti just cutting his loses with League, Paco Rodriguez is the one who gets sent down. Why? Because he has "options," meaning there's no penalty to send him to Triple-A. Wouldn't you know it, League stays and takes the loss just hours later. Typical.
The League contract is one of the worst ones in Dodgers' history. After posting some good numbers in 2011 after being traded from the Mariners, Colletti threw three years and $22.5 million to get him to stay as the closer. It's not working. He got booted early in the season last year from that role, and isn't even close to regaining it this year.
Yet here the Dodgers are, with the highest payroll in all of baseball, stubbornly keeping this guy around. Amazing. I guess they are content watching him collect $15 million this season and next, while effective relievers like Rodriguez are in Albuquerque because of the numbers game.
If I'm Colletti, I'm taking care of a couple of things. Ethier plays good defense, but his lack of pop makes him expendable, and certainly not worthy of as many starts as he gets. I'd look to move him and roll with Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Kemp, and Van Slyke in the outfield. If one of them gets hurt (or WHEN, I should say), then call up Joc Pederson.
For League, it's simple: call him in, say your good-byes, and move on.