Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The overpaid guys let the Dodgers down

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.


Lightbug said...

Yes, the Dodgers won't play with their best roster until the playoffs when League gets left off the roster. If he's not good enough for the playoffs, then why keep him on the regular season roster when it hurts the team's chances of even making the playoffs?

It's also been clear for a long time that Van Slyke would be better for the team than Ethier or Michael Young for a long time, but he's not paid enough.

It was a close game, but the Dodgers did not field their best team due to salary.

Aaron Dodger said...

Lightbug, very good observations. We're definitely on the same page. League might be the luckiest man in baseball, because the Dodgers are practically forced to be overly patient with him. But at some point, enough is enough. I'd say if we're not at that point right now, it's very near.

I'm a Van Slyke fan, too. I just think he needs more regular playing time. That's hard to do, though. I thought maybe he could play some first base to rest A-Gon, but he's played so well, it's hard to get him off the field. I would much rather see his name in the lineup than Ethier. That doesn't seem likely, unfortunately.

Stealing Home said...

I take it you're not happy with Ethier's RBI production.
He's second with 10 RBI's - right behind A-Gon's 14 - and we all know Gonzalez is unconscious now, so nobody is gonna be ahead of him at this point in the season.
Take away A-Gon's RBI's and Ethier is the ONLY other guy on the team with RBI's in double digits. After him, everyone else falls off the charts. Yeah, Ethier is worthless.

Stealing Home said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron Dodger said...

Well I wouldn't say Ethier is "worthless," I just don't think he's nearly enough of a threat to get so many starts. Right now he's hitting .213 with one X-base hit in 47 AB's. He still can't hit lefties to save his life, but against righties he's hitting only .243.

Yes it's a small sample size, but I also go by the eye test and he just doesn't look like a guy who will bust out some big power anytime soon. I hope I'm wrong, of course. But I do think a guy like Van Slyke should play more over him.

Stealing Home said...

Continuing the conversation, AD -
Besides the "eye test" it seems your a numbers guy. You certainly pulled out stats I didn't know.
I'm not arguing against Van Slyke. He should absolutely get more AB's.
If for no other reason than to get more of his awesome Led Zep theme music.
The stats I can't igonore is Ethier's RBI production. Yes, he has a low B.A., but if A-Gon is not in the zone, Ethier is arguably tied with him for RBI leader. You say low BA, I say highly effective situational hitting.
Sitting the team's 2nd highest RBI man is frankly, a bonehead move I expect from Damn Mattingly.
Somebody MUST sit, right? I vote for sitting the hole in the lineup named Crawford. Besides, Dre can play left field as well.

Aaron Dodger said...

Good point about Crawford. I'm sure the Dodgers are just waiting for his contract to run out since he doesn't seem to give a whole lot anymore. At least Van Slyke is getting the start today against Bumgarner.