Andre Ethier is remarkably Zen about his future

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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.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.