Mariners Trade Target: Andre Ethier

brianhelberg
Aug 11, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier (16) reacts after called out at third but the call was overturned for a triple in the fourth inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 11, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier (16) reacts after called out at third but the call was overturned for a triple in the fourth inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Would Andre Ethier be a good fit with the Seattle Mariners?

The Seattle Mariners have been busy reshaping their roster this offseason, but there are still a few holes that prevent them from being considered a true contender. The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly dangling Andre Ethier as trade bait, and the veteran outfielder represents an intriguing trade target for the M’s.

To be clear, there are no indications that the Mariners are attempting to trade for Ethier. However, the M’s have shown interest in the past and he could be considered an upgrade for Seattle in right field.

Originally selected by the Oakland Athletics in the second round of the 2003 draft, Ethier made his debut with the Dodgers during the 2006 season. He got off to a fast start in Chavez Revine, hitting .308 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI across 126 games in his debut campaign. Ethier finished 5th in National League Rookie of the Year voting.

Ethier steadily progressed in 2007 and 2008, but 2009 was the season he earned national recognition. He posted a .272 batting average with 42 doubles, 31 home runs, 106 RBI and 6 stolen bases. Ethier finished 6th in National League MVP voting, and was awarded with his first Silver Slugger.

More from Mariners News

The Arizona State alum represented the Dodgers at the All-Star Game in each of the next two seasons, hitting a combined .292 with 34 home runs and 144 RBI in 274 games played. The emergence of Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig has cut into Ethier’s playing time in recent years, but he still managed to post a .294 batting average with 14 home runs and 53 RBI across 142 games in 2015.

Ethier took home a Gold Glove for his work in right field following the 2010 season, and he is considered an above average defender. He has an accurate arm, and has tallied 67 outfield assists during his career. Ethier’s versatility is perhaps his most valuable defensive trait. He is primarily thought of as a corner outfielder, but Ethier has played 143 games in center field since 2013. The Mariners are flush with starting caliber outfielders right now, but Leonys Martin is the only one of the bunch with extensive experience in center field.

If the Mariners were to acquire Ethier, he would likely be utilized as a platoon partner with Franklin Gutierrez in right field. Ethier would start against right-handed pitching and Guti would go when Seattle faced a southpaw. Ethier is a career .304 hitter against righties, and he hit .306 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI versus right-handed pitching last season. Those are ideal numbers for what his role would be with the M’s.

Aug 11, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier (16) heads for third on a triple in the fourth inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 11, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier (16) heads for third on a triple in the fourth inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The 33-year-old has been one of the most consistent players in baseball over the past decade. Ethier has appeared in at least 126 games in each of his 10 seasons, eclipsing the 140 game mark six times. He has also been remarkably productive at the plate, hitting .272 or higher 9 times and batting over .290 five times. Ethier sports a career .359 on base percentage, and has posted an OBP of at least .360 in six different seasons. He is also considered an excellent teammate and a quiet leader.

The obvious reason the Mariners would not have interest in acquiring Andre Ethier is Seth Smith.  They both possess a similar skill set, but there are two big differences between the two men.

The first difference is talent. To put it simply, Ethier is a superior player to Smith. Consistent production has been hard to come by for Seattle in recent seasons, and Ethier’s career batting average is over 20 points higher than Smith’s. Ethier is a professional hitter, who moves runners effectively and has hit .283 with runners in scoring position throughout his career. He is also a more gifted defender, and his athleticism allows him to play all three outfield positions.

The second difference is money. This one works against Ethier and makes Smith a much more attractive option. Ethier is set to earn $18 million dollars in 2016 and Smith is scheduled to make just $6.75 million. If the M’s traded for Ethier, they would be on the hook for $35.5 million dollars over the next two seasons. Ethier also has a $17.5 million dollar vesting option for the 2018 season, but that year can be bought out for $2.5 million. The Mariners have a $7 million dollar team option on Smith in 2017, but he could be a free agent following this season if they choose to buy him out for $250,000.

More from SoDo Mojo

The question becomes, is Ethier’s superior talent worth the price tag? The Mariners have the funds to foot the bill, and they are a franchise that is desperate to win now. I believe Ethier is a quality offensive player, and he would provide Seattle with versatility and dependability in the outfield. However, I’m not sure the M’s need is great enough to trade for Ethier.

On paper, Smith and Ethier appear to be very similar players. They are both 33 years old, they both hit and throw left-handed, and both are capable of manning both corner outfield spots. Ethier is a more consistent hitter, but his salary could limit the Mariners flexibility to add pieces at the trade deadline.

Next: Has Dipoto Done Enough To Push Seattle Into The Playoffs?

I really like Andre Ethier’s game, but I would prefer to see the Mariners stick with Seth Smith for now. Smith has posted a .344 career on base percentage, and he has hit .274 against right-handed pithing during his 9 years in the big leagues. He is not an All-Star, but he has the ability to be a productive hitter in the M’s revamped lineup. Seattle can always revisit this topic if the outfield is decimated by injury or Smith gets off to a terrible start.

facebooktwitterreddit