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.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.