It’s something of an old rumor, but SI.com’s Jon Heyman has stirred it back up again, saying Andre Ethier is frustrated with the Dodgers and has hopes of joining the Red Sox at some point in his career.
According to Heyman, “many people connected to the Dodgers say that Ethier is more dismayed by the financial and on-field troubles than he has publicly admitted.”
Heyman goes on to quote a “person close” to Ethier as saying:
He’s got his best buddy Dustin Pedroia telling him how great Boston is. In Andre’s mind, [the Dodgers situation] is embarrassing. And Boston has a different [vibe] right now.
Ethier isn’t a free agent until after 2012, so the Red Sox wouldn’t be able to simply sign him and plug him into J.D. Drew’s spot after the season. Whether they’d be open to trading for him remains to be seen. According to UZR, Ethier rates as one of the game’s worst defenders the last four years, costing the Dodgers 35 runs in the outfield.
Now that seems a little excessive, and UZR actually has Ethier as three runs above average so far this season. Still, Ethier isn’t going to get any faster with age, and he might well be able to help a team more at first base, which is a position he couldn’t play in Boston with Adrian Gonzalez locked up.
The Red Sox have one of the game’s most difficult right fields in Fenway Park and two guys with potential in Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish as possibilities to step in during 2012, so they may sit out this chase. However, if the Dodgers make Ethier available, there will be plenty of suitors.
Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.
While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.
Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.
Cooperstown, here he comes.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.
Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.