Dodgers Links: Ethier, Magic, Parking Lots

The Dodgers are off to a 20-11 start and lead the NL West by five games over the Giants. The new ownership group officially took control of the team earlier this month, so things are looking good in Chavez Ravine right now. Here's the latest from SoCal…

  • The Dodgers are internally discussing how they'll try to keep Andre Ethier, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Ethier has indicating the willingness to remain with the team long-term following the ownership change.
  • Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times reports that Magic Johnson has the power to veto any developments proposed by Frank McCourt for the Dodger Stadium parking lots. The veto power is extended to "any other action that would have an adverse effect on the fan experience at Dodger Stadium or otherwise be inconsistent with the preferences of a Guggenheim Baseball Management member."
  • MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently broke down the Dodgers' 2013 contract issues.


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37 Comments on "Dodgers Links: Ethier, Magic, Parking Lots"


Metsfan4ever
3 years 3 months ago

Andre Ethier is a great player and for the Dodgers to sign him it means they want to win now! The NL West has to watch out.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

No disrespect to Mr. Either, but he just might be the most overrated player I have ever seen play the game of baseball.  Since the beginning of 2008 (by far the best year of his career) he has been slightly worse than Josh Willingham at the plate, and considerably worse in the field (to be fair Either has been playing mostly RF while Willingham has been playing mostly LF, but the gap in defensive ratings is so wide that it would stand to reason that Either would, at best, be about equal to Willingham defensively in LF).

Dodgersarelife
3 years 3 months ago

This is beginning to make me uneasy. Since 2008, Ethier has the most walk-off hits in THE GAME. Josh Willingham has never done anything to led his teams to greatness. Since 2008 the dodgers have made it to the NLCS twice. Ethier is more valuable than his stats say. AND the year he is having is off the charts. He has also won a GG and been in the top 5 for assists ever year for OF’s.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Walk off hits and “clutchiness” don’t mean a lot when it comes to a player’s value (“clutch” isn’t quantifiable), and GG are even less meaningful than clutchiness.  Also, a team making the LCS has nothing to do with how good the player is.

If both of them were free agents I would take Willingham every time considering the contracts they would get, and even not considering contracts I would probably still take Willingham because he walks more and doesn’t have the terrible platoon splits that Either does.

vtadave
3 years 3 months ago

So because something isn’t quantifiable, it’s meaningless? Disagree.

Sorry, but I’ll take the guy who is three years younger.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

No, if he really is clutch it means something, but it’s so unquantifiable that it is in serious doubt that clutch is actually a skill, and not simply luck.  In fact, if you look at FanGraphs’ “clutch” stat (which measures how much better players do in high leverage situations than they would have done in a neutral situation) Ethier is a -1.11 for his career, and has fluctuated wildly from year to year (like most players – which is part of why most people believe that clutch is mostly luck, and not an actual skill.  If it were a skill it should be repeatable).

Sorry, I’ll take the guy who is arguably better, and unarguably a lot cheaper.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

In reality it’s a good reason to label this as just another phony-baloney junk stat.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Because it disagrees with what you’re saying?  Sure, why not.

In reality, they can accurately measure what it high leverage, neutral, or low leverage situations, and it’s simple to see how a player performs in those situations, and all this stat is doing is showing how well said player performs in high leverage situations versus how the same player performs in neutral situations.  So the stat is fine, it’s the notion of “clutch” as a skill that is phony-baloney junk.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

No, because it’s a phony-baloney junk stat. You might wish that everything can be quantified, but that doesn’t mean it can. If a stat is as unstable as the one you cite it is probably because it is reporting noise rather than statistical significance.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Did you even read what I wrote?  All the stat is doing is showing what actually happened, what is fluctuating is the phony “skill” called clutch.  It fluctuates because it’s not a repeatable skill, guys can’t go up there and will a hit, as badly as they might want to, so sometimes they succeed (clutch goes up), sometimes they don’t (clutch goes down).  It really is that simple.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

This is the problem with so-called “advanced stats” being quoted by people who really don’t really understand statistics. They don’t know when a stat is telling them nothing. It really is that simple.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Fine, ignore me explaining how the stat works and pretend I don’t understand it.

The stat tells you nothing because there’s nothing to tell (because there’s no actual skill there to be quantified), not because the stat is flawed.

But whatever makes you feel better about Ethier and his clutchiness.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

Actually, I never made an argument either way about his “cluchiness.” That was someone else. I am simply saying that just because someone has created as stat to describe something does not mean that it actually does. The noise in this stat does not tell us that no such thing as ability to perform under pressure exists (when everything we know about human beings tells us otherwise), only that this number fails to describe it statistically. If you don’t follow the concept that statistics can fail, then truly we have nothing further to discuss.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Obviously “mental toughness” and the ability to perform under pressure can’t be quantified by statistics, but what actually happens in those situations can be, and that’s exactly what this stat does.  Whether guys can be more mentally though, or less likely to choke under pressure still isn’t a skill, and you can look at the statistics (you know, the actual outcome of those situations) and see that even if guys are better suited mentally to handle those situations they aren’t actually able to convert that into consistent production, therefor there is no repeatable skill there.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

All stats are the result of assumptions. The results tell us whether the assumptions are valid.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

No disrespect to you, but the world with Jayson Werth in it is laughing at your exaggerations.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Overrated isn’t exactly the same as overpaid, but I get your point.  I honestly think though that people would have been less shocked about Ethier getting that contract than they were about Werth getting it, and Werth is more deserving of it.

3 years 3 months ago

@MaineSox:disqus Agreed.
I love the Dodgers and Andre Ethier is a favorite player of mine but he is not worth more than $10 million a year in commitment. 
@Dodgersarelife:disqus Walk-off hits are wonderful and exciting to watch but ultimately they are luck based, Ethier cannot guarantee hits in tough situation and cannot choose to have Kemp or anyone ahead of him in the order get on base for him (which they are more important to the walk-offs, but that’s another discussion), and he cannot guarantee that the team will even score enough to be in that situation. The Dodgers would be better off with Ethier walking and signing a similar, under appreciated player like Willingham. 
P.S. Ethier is REALLY bad at defense, a GG is a horrible measuring stick (Jeter anyone?).

3 years 3 months ago

Am sure the Dodgers will sign Ethier to a long contract. It’s just a matter of time till it happens in the mean time Ethier needs to do a lot better facing left handers.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

vs LHP as LHB .286/.352/.449/.801

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Did you just quote a 50 plate appearance sample size?

Ethier for his career is .245/.305/.364 against LHP, which is good for a .296 wOBA or 79 wRC+.

vtadave
3 years 3 months ago

He just said he will have to do better. He is going better. Of course whether that continues over an extended period of time remains to be seen, but if you actually watched Ethier, you’d see that it’s like night and day compared to the last couple seasons in terms of the swings he’s getting vs. LHP.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

Yes, but to say that a guy is doing better because of a 50 plate appearance sample size is silly.  And if that’s what BlueSkyLA meant he should have said so.

For comparison, Bryan LaHair is the second best hitter in the game over the first 100 plate appearance this year (twice the sample size even!) so what he’s “doing” is becoming the second best hitter in the game right?  No, in all likelihood it means pretty much nothing, and he’s going to go back to the way he has hit in the past, and until he sustains some sort of success again LHP the same can be said about Ethier (in all likelihood he should be expected to revert back to hitting the way he has in the past – until he has a more substantial sample size of success).

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

Sigh. If you look back beyond his two injury seasons, you will see that his splits are not dramatic, in fact not any different than most players batting from the pitcher’s arm side. What’s happened here is that Ethier got a reputation of not being able to hit lefties from two years of playing hurt, and some seem to refuse to acknowledge any evidence to the contrary. He is playing healthy this year. Six weeks into the season playing every day is sample size enough to know that he is not a liability facing lefties. He wasn’t before he was hurt and he isn’t now that he is no longer hurt.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

2011: .220/.258/.305 .249wOBA 59wRC+
2010: .233/.292/.333 .275wOBA 68wRC+
2009: .194/.283/.345 .283wOBA 70wRC+
2008: .243/.325/.368 .311wOBA 86wRC+
2007: .279/.319/.396 .314wOBA 86wRC+
2006: .351/.378/.468 .365wOBA 120wRC+

I’m honestly not sure what league average LHB vs LHP splits are, so I don’t know how those numbers compare to what average, but I don’t think it’s just the last two years that have given people that impression (whether that impression is fair or not).  In fact, going by the one stat that your average fan actually looks at (batting average) he has been better the last two years.

I wasn’t trying to argue that Ethier was worse than the average LHB against LHP anyway, simply that saying he is getting better after a 50 plate appearance sample is a very faulty argument.  Six weeks into the season simply isn’t sample size enough to know anything.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

2009 was the only other year where the drop off was very significant. If you look deeper into the stats (try SO rate) and know something about the player a more complete picture of his abilities and issues will emerge. Those who’ve watched him play for the last seven years know that Ethier’s worst enemy is himself. He’s tightly wound and insecure. LA fans and his manager knows he wastes ABs for that reason. He pushed himself very hard in ’09 and managed to put up his best power numbers, but at the expense of more SOs and poor numbers on his weaker side. The next year he started very fast and then broke his finger. So for those who know the player, we’re watching as much for his emotional maturity as anything else. That will tell us more about whether he’s the man to have in RF for several more years or not. Sorry, but there’s no stat for that. You’ll just have to watch baseball to figure it out.

MaineSox
3 years 3 months ago

The fact that his defense is a catastrophe in RF should tell you he’s not the man to have in RF for several more years.

notsureifsrs
3 years 3 months ago

note: 2006, the only year with a good result, featured all of 82 PA against lefties. he was basically platooned (can’t imagine why!)

that’s what we’re focusing on here, folks. 82 PA 6 years ago combined with about 50 this year. ~130 versus ~800 other PA v. lefties in his career

but you all just don’t understand statistics, see. bluesky will explain it to you. you have to factor in that ethier is “tightly wound”, see. except when he’s not, that is. which was 6 years ago. and right now, too. you can trust me on this because i watch baseball

notsureifsrs
3 years 3 months ago

“yes, i know he has performed poorly in almost 3500 PA against lefties. but if you invent reasons to ignore all of the ones in which he didn’t do well and you invent reasons to believe the very few in which he did do well represent his true talent level, he actually seems quite good against lefties!

you just have to be really good at math, see. like me”

3 years 3 months ago

Love Dre but he can’t hit LHP. Giving him a $100m deal would be a monumental mistake. Dodgers might be forced to overpay because of the dearth of impact bats in the market but I wouldn’t give him anything bigger than the Bay contract.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

Just for once I’d like to hear a fan say, “I don’t care how much they pay him, so long as they get the best available player for that position.”

Opens window, awaits breath of fresh air.

VivaJackMurphy
3 years 3 months ago

Only in LA are parking lots a news item.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 3 months ago

I guess you got that right, but if you’ve ever seen those parking lots you’d know why.

monkeydung
3 years 3 months ago

Parking lots that were recently bought from a guy who made all his money off of parking lots….in Boston. but yeah. only in LA

Lunchbox45
3 years 3 months ago

I came to this post hoping it would be about a magic parking lot

monkeydung
3 years 3 months ago

there are a number of strong FA OF this year ranging from Hamilton, Ichiro, Ethier and Swisher to high upside gambles in guys like Victorino, Sizmore, Melky Carbrera, and BJ Upton.

Dodgers should be careful in overpaying for Ethier.There will be other options.

thesultanofswingandmiss
3 years 3 months ago

A-Rod and Palvarez are but not Justin