In exchange for a base salary of $3.1 million, the Dodgers have so far received 31 home runs and 103 runs batted in from Andre Ethier.
Matt Kemp has been an even greater bargain, his 26 home runs and 100 RBIs costing the Dodgers only $467,000.
Chad Billingsley is earning $475,000, and James Loney $465,000.
But the kids are no longer kids, and the Dodgers will soon have to compensate them at a more veteran level.
The Dodgers who will be eligible for salary arbitration in the off-season -- including the players mentioned above, as well as Jonathan Broxton, Russell Martin, George Sherrill and Hong-Chih Kuo -- could earn raises that total somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million.
Players become eligible for salary arbitration once they have accrued three years of major league service or are in the top 17% of players with two-plus years of service time.
Ethier, Broxton, Martin and Sherrill will be eligible for arbitration for the second time. Kemp, Billingsley, Loney and Kuo will be eligible for the first time.
Ethier and Kemp are expected to earn the most significant raises, according to agents, who speculate that Ethier could earn $7 million or so next season and Kemp around $4 million.
Blake takes another day
Casey Blake was out of the lineup for the third consecutive night, even though he said his left hamstring felt considerably better.
“You don’t want to miss too many games, but if there’s a chance to play after the regular season, I want to be there,” said Blake, who turned 36 last month.
Manager Joe Torre said he expected Blake to start today.
Blake blamed his latest troubles with the bothersome hamstring on not being properly hydrated and joked that his increased fluid intake over the last couple of days has increased the number of trips he’s had to make to the bathroom.
Ronald Belisario said that facing Andrew McCutchen with two outs and two men on in the eighth inning and forcing him to fly out to left didn’t carry any added significance for him, even though he was pitching against the team that never called him up to the majors and let him go at the end of last season.
While Belisario said that he didn’t have any animosity toward the Pirates, he admitted that wasn’t always the case.
Belisario spent the previous two seasons in their organization, but never advanced past double A. He said he thought he would be a September call-up last season, when he was 4-4 with a 4.74 earned-run average with double-A Altoona.
“On the last day of the season, I was waiting for them to call me up, but they didn’t,” he said. “I was pretty frustrated. I felt that with the work I put in, I deserved an opportunity.”
Orlando Hudson started at second base for only the second time in the last week . . . In Ethier and Kemp, the Dodgers have two players with 100 RBIs for the first time since 2001, when they had Shawn Green and Gary Sheffield. . . . Tim Wallach, the manager of the Dodgers’ triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque, is with the team on this trip. . . . Hiroki Kuroda presented Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama with a Dodgers jersey and cap in a pregame ceremony.