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Andre Ethier’s frightening most similar list

Jun 12, 2012, 1:57 AM EDT

Dmitri Young welcomes you, Andre AP

According to Baseball-Reference similarity scores, here are the 10 most comparable players to Andre Ethier through age 29:

1. Dmitri Young
2. Richie Zisk
3. Rondell White
4. Jacque Jones
5. Aubrey Huff
6. Bobby Higginson
7. Corey Hart
8. Ellis Valentine
9. Jim Edmonds
10. Tony Oliva

Talk about a scary list. I’m not saying it’s worth putting much weight into similarity scores like this, but… yikes. Of course, the Dodgers just gave Ethier a five-year, $85 million contract with what apparently is a pretty easy vesting option for 2018. The five guaranteed years will cover Ethier’s age 31-35 seasons.

For the record, of the eight retired players here, just one hit 100 homers after age 31. That was Edmonds, a late bloomer who hit 230. Huff may get there — he has 86 the last five years — but he’s certainly not someone Dodgers fans want to see Ethier compared to.

The four most similar players to Ethier averaged a total of 53 homers and 204 RBI in their careers from age 31 onwards. The injury-prone White was the most successful of the bunch, and he averaged 13 homers and 53 RBI per season in his final five years.

Of course, I think Ethier will do better than that. But none of these other guys figured to fall off the map like they did, either. I do expect that come 2017, the Dodgers are going to be dreading Ethier’s $17.5 million vesting option. It’ll be much like Bobby Abreu‘s $9 million vesting option that kept him with the Angels over the winter; the team won’t want it, but there may be no way to avoid it.

  1. sincitybonobo - Jun 12, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    Wow. His historic difficulty against lefties brings down his value substantially. Give Ethier and his agent credit- they picked a great time to negotiate a deal. The team has MLB’s best record and he’s leading the NL in RBI. Ethier is a better defender than many of the above names. However, this list has got to scare the Dodgers long-term.

    • paperlions - Jun 12, 2012 at 7:58 AM

      Whether Ethier has been a better defender than the above names is irrelevant. He is a bad defender, at the end of his prime physical years, and highly likely to be much worse in the field in 3 years.

      He just got Matt Holliday money (who is only 2 years older than Ethier) and has never put up a single Matt Holliday-like season…..and many mistakenly think Holliday was overpaid.

      • Jamblinman - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM

        I didn’t know they give bad fielders Gold Gloves (2011 GG in RF for the N.L.)……..

      • paperlions - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        You didn’t?

        Rafael Palmiero, Jeter, Aybar, Markakis, Kemp, McClouth…the list goes on….the guys that vote on GG awards don’t get to see too many games….you see, they are too busy managing/coaching to really know who plays good defense and who doesn’t…..resulting in the tendency to vote for players they hear the most about, which is a function of offense, not defense.

      • term3186 - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        I guess you don’t follow baseball much. Jeter has FIVE gold gloves.

  2. purnellmeagrejr - Jun 12, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    marrtry in haste; repent at leisure.

  3. granted42 - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    As a Giants’ fan, I’m pretty excited about this deal, and the similarity score.

    • Jamblinman - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      Really? You want your main rival to have the NL RBI leader hitting 4th for the next 6 years? ARE YOU BRIAN SABEAN?!

      • jrd8523 - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        He was the NL leader in RBIs through June 2012! Isnt going to sound as good 2-3 years into this doozy of a contract. Ned is as close to Brian Sabean as you can get, his previous signings already proved that. Disregarding the fact he used to be his errand boy.

      • granted42 - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        He wasn’t going to be a free agent until after the 2013 season, so whatever I want, he was going to be in the Dodger lineup anyway. What I like about the deal is, as his numbers start to decline, and they will, the Dodgers won’t be able to trade him, and they’ll have $17 million less to plug holes in their lineup.

        I would be Brian Sabean only if I were to sign Ethier to this kind of deal AFTER he turns 35.

      • Jamblinman - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        LOL at the last part. Nice.

      • lanflfan - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:29 PM

        Needle Head Ned is not the brightest bulb in the pack, but McAsshat is no longer around to lock the vault. This ownership group will spend money, something the giants can only dream of.

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    Considering how expensive contracts are getting, it was a decent deal. He won’t make $20 million a year, which is a saving grace.

    • paperlions - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Contracts aren’t getting any more expensive than they were 5-7 yrs ago. Most teams have realized that you open the vault for ELITE talent, not for above average players. Most of the bad contracts have been because teams over-valued guys that were average to above average that had a good season or two in their prime….Wells, Hunter, Lackey, Crawford, Werth, etc….those are not guys you shell out big deals to….and Ethier is one of those guys…a nice player, but soon to be on the wrong side of 30 that was just paid far more than his production will warrant (and good for him).

  5. dan1111 - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    I think this is overblown. Several of these players had productive careers in their thirties. Many of them, especially the ones who declined quickly, were never as good as Ethier to start with. “100 home runs hit after 31” is a poor way to measure anyone’s performance, and Ethier is not even a home run hitter. It is no surprise that batters similar to him did not hit many of them.

    In fact, if Ethier performed at his career pace for the five years of the deal, he would not even hit 100 homers. Amazingly, despite that utter inability to achieve a useless milestone, he would actually be hitting well. How “scary” is that?

    • paperlions - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      If Ethier hits at his career level for 5 years, he won’t be worth anywhere near the price tag on this deal….so, if everything goes perfectly and he plays in his 30s like he did in his prime…it is still a bad deal for the team. Yeah, that should make you optimistic.

      • lanflfan - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        I’m happy the Dodgers resigned Either but I have to agree with paperlions. Andre will need to seriously increase his offensive output, and marginal defense, to make him truly worth the numbers if he keeps up his historical averages. Perhaps with better talent around him…

  6. rcali - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Could you imagine Either on a team that actually has big league hitters around him in the line-up? Has anyone seen this roster?

  7. deathmonkey41 - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Hopefully he keeps himself in tip top shape like Dimitri Young did.

  8. embinoratsicus - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    term3186, the fact that Jeter has five gold gloves reinforces the argument that you hear more about a guy, you will vote for him. Especially his last one. There are no statistical arguments that can be brought to bear exclusively for fielding that justify it. Just look at all the other small market good glove no bat guys like Mark Ellis who never win the gold glove.

  9. lostsok - Jun 12, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Those comparisons are due to the fact that Either had limited power his first couple years, and struggled to hit lefties (he’s hitting them fine now).

    Bottom line, LA needed to prove…to the team and the fans…that new management was serious about competing. This was a serious deal.

    It’s certainly better than having him leave and spending young talent or even MORE money than this to replace him.

  10. vallewho - Oct 30, 2012 at 2:05 PM


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