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.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.