Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies

Andre Ethier is remarkably Zen about his future


Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier has faced a lot of hardship this season. He hasn’t hit well, currently sitting on a .236 average with five home runs and a .681 OPS. Manager Don Mattingly was very critical of him in the media. Some upstart Cuban rookie, Yasiel Puig, is making him look small-time. And he is constantly being mentioned in trade rumors.

Despite all that, Ethier is taking it all in stride, which is admirable. Players in similar situations in the past have mutinied, demanding an exit. (Speaking of, have you heard the Miguel Olivo news?)

Via Dylan Hernandez in the L.A. Times:

Asked about his future, Ethier chuckled. “Look at the way guys are dropping around here,” he said. “They need as many bodies as they can have.”


But if Puig continues his ascent and the entire outfield is healthy, Ethier could be the odd man out.

“It’s not in your control,” Ethier said. “It’s nothing you can have a say about, except to go out there and play hard.”

Ethier also talked about observing Juan Pierre when he was a Dodger between 2007-09. Pierre took 729 trips to the plate in ’07, but as Ethier and Matt Kemp emerged, his playing time vanished, amassing only a combined 831 PA in ’08-09. Nevertheless, Ethier recalls, Pierre had a smile on his face, didn’t complain, and cheered on his teammates.

It’s true that the Dodgers massively overpaid Ethier when they gave him a five-year, $85 million extension last June. In the Dodgers’ rush to get rid of him, some team will be smart enough to grab him cheaply and utilize him as part of a platoon. He has a career .904 OPS against right-handed pitchers and .645 against lefties.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.