Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier fouled a ball off of his leg during a Cactus League game on Friday. He underwent a bone scan on Monday, which revealed that he suffered a fractured right tibia, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Ethier is expected to miss 10-14 weeks as a result.
This is a huge blow for the Dodgers, as Ethier is coming off of a stellar 2015 campaign in which he hit .294/.366/.496 with 14 home runs and 53 RBI in 445 plate appearances. And it’s yet another injury for the Dodgers, who will open the season without Frankie Montas, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Brett Anderson.
Ethier was expected to face mostly right-handed pitching. With him out of the picture, Carl Crawford is in line for increased playing time in left field. The Dodgers also limited Crawford’s exposure to lefties last season, as he racked up 163 plate appearances against right-handers and only 30 versus southpaws.
Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.
While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.
Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.
Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.
For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.