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UPDATE: The Dodgers and Andre Ethier reach a five-year, $85 million deal with an option for a sixth year

Jun 12, 2012, 8:56 AM EDT

Andre Ethier AP

UPDATE: Bob Nightengale confirms that the deal is done. The five-year, $85 million figure was accurate. Add to it a $17.5 million vesting option for a sixth year or a $2.5 million buyout.  The option vests if he hits a specific number of plate appearances from 2016-17.

1:10 A.M.: Andre Ethier‘s big start has been parlayed into a big contract: five years and $85 million big.

Ethier was long rumored to be on the way out of Los Angeles as a free agent at season’s end, if not before, but obviously the ownership change led to a big turnaround there. Now the 30-year-old Ethier might be in a position to finish his career in Los Angeles. His deal includes a vesting option that would take him through 2018, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Apart from last year’s injury-plagued season, Ethier has been a consistent hitter on a year-to-year basis, finishing with OPSs between .802 and .885. He’s at .871 this year with his .292/.353/.518 line. He’s hit 10 homers and driven in 52 runs in 60 games.

Still, one wonders if this has the potential to turn into a Jason Bay-like deal for the Dodgers. Ethier’s defense in right field is average at best, and considering that he turns 31 next season, there’s a good chance he’s already had his best seasons. The Dodgers will be paying an All-Star’s salary to guy who projects as little more than an average regular two or three years down the line.

That said, the Dodgers are flush with cash, and the Ethier deal isn’t at all likely to stop them from making a big addition or two this winter. Also, that they’ve handed out massive deals to Matt Kemp and Ethier should only make them more attractive to potential free agents. For on-field production, the Dodgers probably won’t end up getting much bang for their buck here. Still, it’s not something that figures to hamstring the franchise.

  1. nflinla - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    2 gold gloves. I guess that’s average.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:37 AM

      Just the one, actually. However, if they had always been voting LF-CF-RF for outfielders (they just started last year), he might have been given more.

  2. bubbalynch - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    A gold glove is no big deal nowadays?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:07 AM

      No, it really isn’t.

      It’s not as though Ethier is the consensus best right fielder in the NL. I have nothing at all to back this up, but I really doubt he got the majority of the Gold Glove votes for the position last year… he just got more than anyone else.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:10 AM

      The NL had nine regular right fielders last year: Ethier, Beltran, Bruce, Hart, Heyward, Pence, Stanton, Upton and Werth.

      Ethier is probably the slowest of that bunch when it comes to foot speed, and I can’t imagine anyone would describe him as having an elite arm. I’m standing by “average at best.”

      • andrebeingandre16 - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:47 AM

        His uzr was pretty good last year if you are into fielding stats like that.

    • hisgirlgotburrelled - Jun 12, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      Yeah i have to agree that it is not a big deal for outfielders. ethier missed a lot of games last year and he was not one of the best RF’s last year.

      in ’05 bobby abreu won a gold glove playing RF. he was never the best fielding outfielder.

    • CJ - Jun 12, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Hello bubba, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Jeter’s trophy case. GG awards are a popularity contest.

  3. slumdog66 - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    Still can’t beat the halos

  4. muckthefets23 - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    What’s terms of the vesting option?? Don’t know if the specifics were mentioned or I just missed them….

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:53 AM

      Haven’t seen any specifics in regards to how it vests, just a couple of tweets suggesting it’s pretty easily reachable. It’s worth $17.5 million, includes a $2.5 million buyout.

  5. bigbruce11047 - Jun 12, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    I’ve been a Dodger fan ever since they moved out West in 1958. I have seen several players come up through the major leagues but when they deserve to make the “Big Bucks” they are traded to another team. I’m speaking of catcher Mike Pizzia. He turned out to be one of the best catchers in the majors. Catcher Martin was a good catcher and he had an average year and he is sent packing and the Yankees picked him up. I’m so glad that the Dodgers finally signed Ethier to his contract extension. He is a consistent player and that’s what you need. Someone who wil drive in runs and play a good outfield. Thanks Dodgers!!

    • davidpom50 - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM

      To be fair to the Dodgers, Martin declined for 2 years, then broke his hip. Dodgers had to make a decision about whether to tender him a contract or not without knowing how he’d recover. He would’ve made more in arbitration than the Yankees gave him. It was NOT a terrible decision at the time.

  6. sincitybonobo - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    I would have let him walk. But, he did parlay a trio of advantageous circumstances into a deal that would have likely exceeded his value on the open market. (New owner, leading NL in RBI, and Dodgers’ MLB best record). His agent deserves credit. As for the Dodgers, I think they could have spent this $ better. I’d rather Hamilton for the next 3 years at the same $ amount.

    • marinersnate - Jun 12, 2012 at 2:59 PM

      “As for the Dodgers, I think they could have spent this $ better. I’d rather Hamilton for the next 3 years at the same $ amount.”

      Wouldn’t everyone? But you are not getting Hamilton on a three year deal or “at the same $ amount” ($17M/year). Hamilton is said to be looking for a minimum of 8/9 years at Pujols/Fielder AAV ($23M/$25M). Whether he gets it or not with his injury history and off field issues is open to speculation. But he is certainly not going to sign a three year deal with anyone and it would have to be a very high AAV to get him for five years. Otherwise, the Rangers’ would have already extended him.

      Recent history has shown that some club will take a chance with a mega contract that will will be a huge overpay in it’s latter half, just like Pujols and Fielder last year and A-rod after the 2007 season. If I had to make a guess right now, I would say that Hamilton probably re-signs with Texas at something between Jayson Werth money ($126M/7) and Carl Crawford money ($142M/7). Just a guess, but I think the numbers are right in the ballpark.

  7. fhuizar - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    And now his bat will suddenly cool off after getting paid

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