Andre Ethier has avoided arbitration with the Dodgers, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $10.95 million.
This is Ethier’s final arbitration eligible season, so barring a contract extension with the Dodgers he’ll be a free agent next winter at age 31.
He earned $9.5 million last season while hitting .292 with 11 homers and a career-low .789 OPS in 135 games, failing to crack an .800 OPS for the first time in six seasons as a big leaguer.
It’ll be interesting to see what type of market there is for Ethier next offseason. Based purely on production he’s somewhat similar to corner outfielders Josh Willingham and Michael Cuddyer, who inked three-year deals worth $21 million and $30 million respectively this offeason. However, because Ethier will be younger than those two when he becomes a free agent and his reputation generally exceeds his on-field performance he’d seemingly be in line for a larger deal.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.