Moving on from Ethier at that lofty price tag was an easy decision for the Dodgers, who saw the 35-year-old deal with significant injury issues over the past two seasons and combine for a mere 64 plate appearances. In 2017, back problems kept Ethier out until September and prevented him from contributing to the Dodgers’ fifth straight NL West-winning effort, but he was able to partake in his eighth postseason with the club. Ethier totaled 15 playoff plate appearances this season, including six in the Dodgers’ World Series loss to the Astros. In what is likely to go down as his final at-bat with the franchise, Ethier picked up a pinch-hit RBI single in LA’s 5-1 loss in Game 7 of the Fall Classic.
Prior to the past two seasons, Ethier was a consistent offensive presence for the Dodgers. The 2003 second-round pick debuted in 2006 and proceeded to slash an impressive .286/.359/.464 with 159 home runs through the 2015 campaign. The success Ethier had early in his career led the Dodgers to sign him to his most recent deal, a five-year, $85MM extension, in June 2012.
With his Dodgers tenure in the rearview, the lefty-swinging Ethier will head to the open market, though his age, recent health troubles and longstanding woes against same-handed pitchers will work against him in free agency. Still, Ethier was a terrific offensive player as recently as 2015, slashing .294/.366/.486 in 445 PAs, and could garner interest from teams looking for a designated hitter.