Trust me, when I Andre Ethier's comments about not being with the Dodgers next year, I shook my head and no doubt thought his timing was horrible. Really? Two days before Opening Day?! However, the more I thought about it, I remembered that Ethier is under team control until after the 2012 season. I just shrugged it off and chalked it up to a young athlete speaking his mind with microphones & recorders pushed in his face.
Today on the way home from work I was listening to AM710 ESPN's Mason & Ireland Show. I'm usually not a fan of the Evil 4-Letter (ESPN) but Mason & Ireland were set to interview Dodger GM Ned Colletti. They asked Colletti about the length of spring training (Ned says it's too long) and signing Billingsley to the extension. Next they asked him about Ethier's comments. Ned's reply included the following quotes:
"I was a little bit surprised by it but you know, I love the kid..."
"He's one of our leaders and one of the guys we look to and that's all I got to say about it..."
"In '06, in the month of September he struggled a little bit, it was his rookie year and he was talking about maybe I'm gonna get traded, maybe this, maybe that. You know, i know he's...obviously he's still here and he's one of our...he hits in the middle of our line-up, he's one of our key guys and I don't have any interest in moving him, trading him, anything."
After hearing this portion of the interview I was curious as to what Ethier's quote/statement was in '06. I did a little research and came across this Dodger Report by Ken Bolch of the L.A. Times. The report was from September 23, 2006.
Here's what Ethier had to say:
"I don't know if I'm going to be here next year or not, It's pretty obvious by the way the last couple of weeks have been going."
At the time of the quote then Dodger Manager, Grady Little, was giving Marlon Anderson most of the starts in right field. Colletti's response was similar to his response today:
"I plan to have him here. He's got a long, good future ahead of him in L.A."
In his statements recently he also alluded to the Dodgers non-tendering Russell Martin and that the team might do the same to him. To put this in perspective, I dug up an old interview from October 3, 2006. The interview was from the L.A. Times Blue Notes blog run by the Kamenetzky before they left for the Evil 4-Letter website. One thing Ethier touched on was his closeness with Russell Martin:
"The first time I met him was this last offseason in Phoenix during the fall league. We happen to have the same agent and he was in town working out. He wasn't playing in the fall league at the time, I was playing on the team with the Dodgers. We happened to have a little get-together and he was there with my agent and we got together and talked for about 10 or 20 minutes. That was the last time we talked until I came in for spring training. We were teammates all of a sudden. Then we became close because we were in spring training and roommates in Vegas."
Maybe Russell Martin being non-tendered and eventually signing with the Yankees hurt Ethier personally.
Since Ethier is under team control until after 2012 and since his agent released a statement today basically saying Ethier wants to stay in L.A., can we please put this crazy talk to rest? Does Ethier need to hit left handed pitching better? Of course! Should he just shut up & play? Yes! However, let's not get carried away. Opening Day is tomorrow and we have a brand new season to look forward to!
If you'd like to listen to the entire Ned Colletti interview you can listen at ESPNRadio
Ned went on to talk about not wanting to sign a free agent left fielder unless the money & years were just right because Jerry Sands is probably only one year away.
True to the Blue!