Andre Ethier meets with Dodgers management after L.A. Times column

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T.J. Simers’ Sunday column in the Los Angeles Times, which highlighted Andre Ethier’s struggles as he plays on a sore right knee that will require offseason surgery, created a stir in the Dodgers clubhouse and led to a meeting this afternoon between Ethier, GM Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly.

Ethier, who has been playing regularly while hurt, was held out of Sunday’s lineup after the meeting.  His comments in Simers’ article suggested he was playing at the Dodgers’ insistance:

It’s only going to get worse from this point. I’ve dealt with it all season long, but as the season goes on my body wears down. That’s just the way it is — I keep getting put in the lineup, so what am I supposed to do?

Obviously, that didn’t go over well with Mattingly:

“I got kind of blindsided by that,” Mattingly told Steve Dilbeck of the Times. “To me, the way I read it is, Dre’s been telling us he can’t play and we just said, ‘You’re playing anyway.’ That definitely isn’t the case.”

Ethier says he’s been told playing won’t make his condition any worse, so it doesn’t sound like he’ll be shut down anytime soon.  Still, one wonders if his time with the Dodgers is coming to an end.  He’s been painted as a malcontent in other articles this year, with many suspecting that he yearns to play in Boston with good friend Dustin Pedroia.  The Dodgers have him under control for next year, but he’ll probably make $11 million-$12 million in arbitration and he’ll be a free agent after that.  They might decide to get something for him while they still can.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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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.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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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.