The Dodgers have approximately two hitters on their roster who would be everyday players on a good team, and the one that isn't Matt Kemp appears to be burning his personal bridges. Andre Ethier told T.J. Simers over the weekend that the reason he's hitting so poorly this season is his knee is injured, and he strongly suggested that the Dodgers know it and are making him play anyway. General manager Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly both said they were flummoxed by the claim, but kinda suggested they aren't sure Ethier is all that hurt. Meetings ensued and quotes were given, but they weren't the all-is-good fluff one usually gets when one of these situations breaks out. ESPN beat writer Tony Jackson speculates Ethier is angling to get away.
Ethier won't be eligible for free agency until after 2012. But is he trying to force his way out of town a year early? That's my theory. I don't have enough insight to know for a fact that it's true, or that it isn't. That's why they call it a theory. But I have to say, when you take the statements Ethier made in March, and to Simers this weekend, and put them together, it sure smells that way.
Could it be that Ethier is trying to become such a distraction that the Dodgers, rather than going through the expensive process of arbitration this winter -- he already is making $9.25 million this season and would get a significant raise -- will simply non-tender him, making him a free agent a year early?...
If Ethier is trying to outsmart the system, well, the one he is outsmarting might be himself. ...How much of a market will there be for a guy who is coming off a down year? A guy who probably is going to be coming off arthroscopic knee surgery? A guy who so often lets his emotions get the better of his game? A guy who certainly isn't helping his reputation with all these public outbursts, especially at a time when, according to various sources, scouts from other teams are starting to pick up on his moodiness and the fact he can be high maintenance?
Yeah, you may as well go ahead and add right fielder to the Dodgers' needs for next year. "The situation is kind of a mess," allows Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts.
Book note: Wally Moon, an outfielder with the Dodgers' championship teams in 1959, '63 and '65, has a new book coming. "Moon Shots: Reflections on a Baseball Life" includes a foreword from the former club owner Peter O’Malley. Moon became a part of Los Angeles sports lore by poking home runs over the left-field fence when the Dodgers played at the Coliseum. Dude's got a website and everything.