Andre Ethier wants to start for the Dodgers or be traded

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Andre Ethier accepted a reduced role with the Dodgers this year without making much of a fuss, but the 32-year-old former All-Star told Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times that he wants to start again in 2015 even if that requires being traded to another team:

Whether to play here every day or play somewhere else. … I’d rather play every day and help this team win–or whatever team it is–to the best of my ability. I feel I can, if given a role. As I stand here today, I’m preparing every day to be a starting outfielder for the Dodgers, until I’m told otherwise. I’m not changing my mind about that. It’s probably going to be a little less wanting to take the same role as I did last year.

Fair enough. On almost any other team Ethier would be a starter, because while his 2014 performance was not good–hitting just .249 with four homers and a .691 OPS in 130 games–his track record is good enough to give him the benefit of the doubt as a productive player in 2015.

However, even if the Dodgers follow through on the rumors about them trading Matt Kemp there still might not be room in their outfield for Ethier with Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford in the corners and top prospect Joc Pederson in center field. Ethier isn’t good enough defensively to reliably play center field and his offense is declining.

Ethier is owed $18 million in 2015, $18 million in 2016, $17.5 million in 2017, and $17.5 million or a $2.5 million buyout for 2018. In other words, if the Dodgers are going to trade him it’ll involve eating a bunch of that money.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The players association said Wednesday night it was dismayed by the length of the ban.

“While we understand the concerns raised by the league with respect to a bench-clearing incident during this challenging season, we’re disappointed by the decision,” the union said. “It was an unfair result for Joe Kelly given the cases presented.”

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty that was first reported by Barstool Sports.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.