I’m worried about Andre Ethier.
Aren’t you? Shouldn’t you be? I’m mortified he might be happy.
Now normally this little piece of baseball nirvana is a desired destination, but we’re talking about Andre Ethier, a man who believes he’s built a career constantly facing down naysayers.
It’s a motivational tool used his entire career. He’s admitted that chip on his shoulder provided focus and determination, fueled his ascent as a major leaguer. You know, to that career not a single soul on planet Earth believed he would ever achieve.
And now, this: This season his $85-million contract kicks in. That’s a lot of belief. He’s set for life and has to be feeling just a little bit loved, doesn’t he?
Yet considering whom we’re discussing, aren’t you concerned an Ethier who feels loved and wanted might not prove as effective a player? Might unintentionally lose that odd nobody-believes-in-me motivational edge?
And now he’s in a dangerous lineup, and doesn’t have to feel like he and Matt Kemp need to carry the major offensive load. You don’t sense trouble here?
I’ve tried to help motivate Ethier before by casting all kinds of aspersions toward his abilities, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult, not that an effort can’t be made.
Is he ever going to hit left-handers again? Can you spend $85 mil on a platoon player? Is that hole in his hand going to prove his undoing? Is Yasiel Puig’s stunning spring going to force the Dodgers to move Ethier to find the Cuban a starting spot? Is he more concerned about being hot off the field than on it?
I know, my effort seems to be lagging. Ethier irritated at management or writers or photographers or coaches or his second cousin from Winslow, Ariz., all has worked to a .476 career slugging percentage.
Ethier respected and established and wealthy, that sounds a tad dangerous.