Tag:Andre Ethier
Posted on: October 13, 2010 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm
 

R.I.P. Dodgers: Divorce drama dominates

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Los Angeles Dodgers.

Things looked promising after 2009, when the Dodgers won their second consecutive National League West title and made it two straight trips to the NLCS.

And yet somehow, by the time camp broke in 2010, it was clear that this was a team that was in for a long season. The ongoing divorce of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt had generated sensational headlines and hamstrung the team financially. Without financial flexibility, general manager Ned Colletti was unable to add the pitching the Dodgers needed.

The result was an 80-82 season filled with frustration and distractions, and one of baseball’s proudest franchises is in trouble if the ownership mess isn’t straightened out soon.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Pitching was an issue throughout the season, as there wasn’t enough in the rotation to back up Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw (though Hiroki Kuroda was a nice surprise) and the bullpen caused as many fires as it put out. George Sherrill collapsed, and closer Jonathan Broxton pitched himself out of a job.

Manny Ramirez The offensive picture might have been a lot different if their $20 million slugging outfielder had shown up, figuratively or literally. Instead of vintage Manny Ramirez, they ended up with a post-suspension slap hitter who seemed dedicated to finding ways not to play baseball. He had just 196 at-bats and hit eight homers, not exactly what the Dodgers were hoping for.

Ramirez wasn’t alone as a distraction. Coming off a big season, Matt Kemp saw his batting average drop nearly 50 points, looked lost at times in the outfield after winning a Gold Glove the year before, and was constantly in a beef with someone. He clashed with teammates, coaches and staff.

Russell Martin continued to struggle with his injuries, and Andre Ethier broke his finger in May and never was the same. Rafael Furcal and Vicente Padilla also spent time on the DL.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Ethier took steps forward despite his finger issue, and Kershaw and Billingsley stepped up. Hong-Chih Kuo was a revelation in relief, and he and rookie Kenley Jansen give the Dodgers some good options at the end of the pen in the future.

Beyond that, good news was pretty tough to find.
 
HELP ON THE WAY

The minor-league ranks were thinned when Colletti, badly misreading his club’s potential, decided the Dodgers were still in contention and shipped out a ton of players in trades for Ted Lilly, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot and Octavio Dotel – none of whom was signed past 2010.

Colletti’s shopping spree didn’t leave the cupboard completely bare. The closest they have to actual help from the minors is probably outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who upped his stock in a big way this season.
 
Frank McCourt EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

It will depend almost entirely on what happens with the McCourt mess.  The team could be tied up in court and financially hamstrung. Commissioner Bud Selig or the courts could force the McCourts to sell, giving the team a new lease on the future.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Dodgers have got some decisions to make.

One is on Matt Kemp. They need to get everybody into a room and work this thing out once and for all, or cut their losses and just admit they can’t get along. He has trade value.

Another is Martin. He’s just not the same player he was a couple of years ago, and now he’s coming off hip surgery and he could make as much as $7 million in arbitration. With the promising A.J. Ellis on board, they might be better off trading Martin before he puts up another .248/.347/.332 and loses all his value.

Word is that Lilly is open to returning, and that would be money well-spent -- they don’t want to enter next season short in the rotation again.

2011 PREDICTION

The McCourts’ drama shows no sign of abating, and even if they put the team on the market tomorrow, it’s unlikely a sale could be completed in time to solidify the Dodgers’ situation in time to help 2011. An unproven, rookie manager, plenty of drama – this doesn’t look like the recipe for immediate success. Tough to see the Dodgers finishing better than third in the division.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .



Posted on: September 26, 2010 5:25 pm
 

Ethier back at full strength after May injury

Andre Ethier With another season drawing to a close, Dodger fans are viewing Andre Ethier's season as a missed opportunity.

Ethier was leading the NL in batting average on May 15 with a .392 mark, also contributing 11 home runs (tied for the league lead) and 38 RBI.

Alas, he broke his right pinkie and by his own admission, came back from the injury a week or two too early. Combined with missing four games in April due to a sore ankle, and Ethier "missed 20 games," he told the Los Angeles Times . "If you add those 20 games into [the total], my big numbers are right there where they were last year."

With a 2009 line of .272/.361/.508 with 685 plate appearances and 31 home runs, Ethier is not too far off the mark when you consider his .287/.359/.496 line with 23 blasts in 562 trips to the plate.

However, the fact remains: the way Ethier got the season started at the age of 28, even just matching the previous season's line pales in comparison to the talent the lefty was flashing.

Ethier is ready to get back to that superstar level of play, though.
Ethier's finally regaining full strength in his hand, allowing him to finish his swing correctly. "[It's] probably the last two, three weeks that I feel like I've gotten my full strength back," Ethier noted, "where I could say it's almost back to 100% strength-wise in my hand and I feel like I can grab and swing the bat the way I want."

While acknowledging how lack of strength in his hand held him back, Ethier refused to "use that as a crutch and say that's why I didn't hit or did."

But then he admitted that the lack of strength "affects your body, your mind, your confidence."

That's certainly easy to see, especially given Ethier's .272/.422/.529 line over the past 16 games, as he regains his strength and confidence.

Confidence and maturity are two things that Joe Torre thinks Ethier and other youngsters like Matt Kemp need to address, however. The skipper believes mental issues are more to blame for Ethier's struggles than anything.

"I just still think it's the lack of the mental aptitude to just fight your way through it," Torre said Saturday. "They let the frustration take over."

Ethier, who came over from Oakland in a trade for Milton Bradley back in 2005, agreed with that assessment, saying that he and others need to "find a way to pick it up."

In yet more contradictions, however, Ethier mentioned that the loss of Manny Ramirez affected his production, saying he is not "the same hitter if I don't have the same lineup around me."

Ethier likely meant that pitchers pitch to him differently if there is a lack of protection behind a hitter, which is true, but it seems as if Ethier doesn't quite grasp what it means to rely on yourself to produce.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: September 15, 2010 7:58 pm
 

Ethier might have eye on Boston

Andre Ethier
File this one squarely in the category of "rumors," subcategory "theoretical," but one report says Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier told friends he'd welcome a trade to Boston.

Even if he did say that, as reported by CSNNE.com, it doesn't really make any difference, because he has no say in the matter. He can't become a free agent until 2013 and has a contract for next year. The Dodgers and Red Sox are both expected to be active in the trade market this winter, and maybe Ned Coletti and Theo Epstein can take comfort in the idea that Ethier would approve of such a trade.

Asked about the report by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Ethier said "I don't think it makes any sense to comment on something like that."

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 29, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 4:41 pm
 

Pujols leads voting, but should he?

Albert Pujols In what should be the most difficult decision among National League All-Star voters, the pick has more or less already been made.

Although online voting ends on Thursday, Albert Pujols' lead in first base voting makes it more or less impossible for him to be passed in the voting. Pujols leads Ryan Howard at first base by nearly 2 million votes in the latest numbers released by Major League Baseball . The teams will be announced on Sunday.

Chase Utley seemingly has second base wrapped up and the outfield of Ryan Braun, Jason Heyward and Andre Ethier also seems pretty much safe, as does shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

Third base is a little more interesting, as Placido Polanco leads David Wright by fewer than 23,000 votes in the tightest race and another example of Phillie ballot-box stuffing.

Yadier Molina leads Brian McCann in catcher voting by fewer than 200,000 votes.

As for Pujols, he's the easy choice at first base -- a choice most have made. He's probably the best player in the game, but he's not having the best year in the game -- or even among first basemen.

OK, this is splitting hairs, and it's by no means a mockery if he's the All-Star starter, but you can make a compelling case for two first basemen over Pujols: Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez. The three have pretty similar numbers, so any of the three is a solid choice, but the point is the gap shouldn't be so wide. It should be a tough decision. According to the voters, it's just not.

Here's a look at the first basemen in six categories: BA/OBP/SLG, HR, RBI and WAR (wins above replacement, an advance stat that takes defensive into consideration.

The King
Albert Pujols .305/.420/.542 16 52 2.6

The contenders
Adrian Gonzalez .306/.399/.544 16 50 3.3
Joey Votto .312/.415/.559 16 51 3.3

The usual suspects
Ryan Howard .296/.352/.517 15 50 1.4
Prince Fielder .256/.385/.463 15 44 1.8

Not that far behind
Troy Glaus .268/.373/.472 14 56 1.2
Adam Dunn .276/.366/.559 17 43 2.1
Aubrey Huff .296/.385/.512 12 42 2.3
James Loney .294/.346/.429 5 40 1.0
Ike Davis .264/.340/.442 9 37 0.9
Gaby Sanchez .302/.373/.474 8 39 1.9
Adam LaRoche .254/.342/.469 12 41 0.8
Garrett Jones .281/.352/.446 10 33 1.3

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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