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.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.