Daily Dodger in review: Andre Ethier battles Andre Ethier?
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We begin our second annual look at the individual season of each Dodger with a look at one of the team’s most significant players in 2011.
ANDRE ETHIER, 29, outfielder
Final 2011 statistics: .292 batting average, 11 home runs, 62 runs batted in, 30 doubles, .368 on-base percentage, .421 slugging percentage in 487 at-bats.
Contract status: Final season of arbitration eligibility.
The good: Hit almost .300, had a 30-game hitting streak early in the season, was second on team with 67 runs and played a solid right field.
The bad: Power threatened to disappear. Hit only 11 home runs, and his slugging percentage was the lowest of his six-year career. Implied the Dodgers were making him play through knee pain instead of opting for surgery, took it back and then shortly afterward had season-ending surgery.
What’s next: That’s a good one. General Manager Ned Colletti has said he’d like to sign Ethier to a long-term contract, but it’s hard to put an accurate value on Ethier coming off a down year and then surgery, however minor. Whether he signs a one-year contract, goes to arbitration or gets his multiyear deal, if the Dodgers have any hope of contending, they need a resurgent season from Ethier in 2012. The take: Ethier seemed poised to become the star at the center of the Dodgers’ universe after an outstanding 2009 and then a brilliant start to his 2010 sesaon. Then came a broken pinkie, and he has struggled to consistently find his swing since. Now he has been eclipsed by Matt Kemp and too often continues lets his emotions get the better of him.
Manager Don Mattingly said he thinks the moody Ethier’s emotions caused him to give away 100 at-bats last season: ‘Dre gets frustrated to the point that he loses focus.’
And that’s not even counting flipping off a photographer or playing games with the media, or bouncing back and forth about the way management is treating him. Ethier’s biggest obstacle too often appears to be ... Ethier. He is a bright, good-looking and talented player who can be extremely charming. He could still be a superstar in Los Angeles. Or gone after next season.
-- Steve Dilbeck