Should Mets Add Andre Ethier?

According to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers are open to trading Andre Ethier to a team willing to take on half of his contract. Should the Mets consider such a trade?

Ethier is owed $56M over the next three years, so a little work on my calculator tells me that an acquiring team would be responsible for $28M of that. Three years, $28M for Andre Ethier — isn’t that a decent deal?

What goes through my mind is that the Mets paid Chris Young $7.25M last year, gambling that Young would return close to performance levels exhibited in Arizona in his mid-20s. It’s not too far away from gambling on Ethier today, except Ethier’s ceiling is higher and he posted a strong performance more recently than Young had at the time. Well, there’s also the matter of age — Ethier turns 33 shortly after opening day, while Young was, er, younger at only 30 last year. Still, based on recent history and past performance, it would seem that Ethier is a better bet to earn his salary than Young was. Or maybe not?

Surely, some are wondering why the Mets would need Andre Ethier when they already have Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis fighting it out for the last spot on the roster. Well, I’m thinking that a team with its sights set on preventing Bryce Harper from getting a World Series ring might be interested in upgrading. Adding Ethier to the mix would give the Mets more platoon possibilities for Michael Cuddyer and Juan Lagares, giving them a deeper lineup. But, that’s only if you think Ethier still has some gas in the tank (which I do).

Now, some might also wonder why the Mets would spend money on such a risky player, or why they would give up a minor league prospect to acquire Ethier. Well, again, this is supposed to be a team with postseason goals, and no longer a team building for the future. This is also a team whose owners claim to have plenty of payroll flexibility. Shouldn’t acquiring Ethier, or someone like him, be worth exploring?

Money shouldn’t be the issue at this point. Parting with a random A-ball prospect shouldn’t, either. Assuming those two statements to be true, is Ethier a fit?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Quinn March 5, 2015 at 11:47 am
    Yes they should attempt to acquire him, if there is the alleged payroll flexibility it only makes sense to bring him in and deepen your lineup. I am a fan of DenDekker and Kirk, but they are both relatively known entities that aren’t going to contribute in the long run, so what’s the difference if they cut ties with one (likely Kirk due to no more options) now or later. At least now they will cut ties and replace him with someone who can help both defensively and offensively. The acquisition of Either will also help when Mayberry Jr flops and does not produce.
    The only snag would be his attitude, if I understand correctly he wants out of LA because there is no guaranteed spot for him to start, wouldn’t there be the same problem in NY?
    In theory he would play when Cuddyer moves to 1b against lefties but even then in the past 3 years he has only hit 221 against lefties. While in the same sample size Cuddyer hit equally against both lefties and righties.
    So yes if Either could accept a smaller role in NY then it would certainly behoove the Mets to call up the Dodgers.
  2. Dave March 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm
    No! No! No! No! No! No! What is the purpose of adding Ethier? He’s offensively and defensively inferior to both Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares. He’s an upgrade defensively to Michael Cuddyer in the outfield (but outside of Lucas Duda who isn’t?) but nowhere near the hitter. I’m not entirely sure he’s an offensive upgrade on either Nieuwenhuis or den Dekker any more. In fact, he may be exactly the player that John Mayberry is at this point, but at 3 years and $28 million? Unless we know for a fact that Ethier is taking steroids and/or HGH to regain the form he displayed in his prime I can’t imagine how adding him makes the team better.
    • Joe Janish March 5, 2015 at 2:16 pm
      Why does Ethier have to be compared to Granderson to ascertain his value? He wouldn’t be taking Granderson’s job. Though, since you brought it up, I have to disagree — I believe that Ethier has performed better than Granderson both in the field and at the plate over the past three years, and believe he would perform better than Granderson going forward. But that doesn’t matter, because Ethier would be in a platoon system with Lagares and Cuddyer, hitting almost exclusively against RHPs.

      I do agree Lagares is a better fielder but I’m not so sure he’s a better offensive player than Ethier. Ethier had the worst offensive year of his career in 2014, but his stat line was still about the same as Lagares’. But again, he wouldn’t be taking Lagares’ job anyway, he’d be taking away a couple hundred at-bats vs. RHPs.

      I’ll take the over on Ethier outperforming Mayberry.

  3. ! Scottie March 5, 2015 at 12:18 pm
    Crawford! why not go after crawford?
  4. argonbunnies March 5, 2015 at 12:38 pm
    I’d prefer Carlos Quentin. No job in the Padres outfield, and rakes whenever he’s healthy, unlike Ethier, who is very streaky.

    Ethier would probably represent a small 2015 upgrade, but surely there are better uses for $28 mil over 3 years. An elite reliever, for example.

    • Joe Janish March 5, 2015 at 2:20 pm
      I like Quentin too, but not sure I’d prefer him. The Mets should look to add either of them.

      Again, take away the financials, because the Mets claim they have payroll flexibility, and in this day and age, 3/$28M isn’t much. They should have enough cash to both get a bat like Ethier’s (or Quentin’s) AND get an elite reliever, if that’s what they think they need. But then the argument becomes “why waste money on an elite reliever when the Mets have Mejia/Familia/Black and Parnell on the mend?” On paper, it would seem the Mets should be looking to add more bats.

      • argonbunnies March 5, 2015 at 4:47 pm
        I disagree with that argument. I expect Black and Parnell’s jobs to be much more fungible than Cuddyer and Granderson’s.

        Also, although I don’t respect the way the Wilpons finance the team, I want to have SOME financial constraints when making suggestions. Otherwise, it’s just “get Hanley and Robertson and Scherzer” and there’s really no thought to it. On a team with any budget at all, I don’t think Ethier at 3/$28M is a good use of it unless he’s replacing someone who is truly horrible.

      • argonbunnies March 5, 2015 at 4:49 pm
        I should clarify my Ethier dislike: when I’ve seen him in the past, he’s either been in a red-hot groove, or he’s been an automatic out. Check his monthly splits in any given year. It’s hard for part-time guys to get in a groove, so I’m envisioning the “automatic out” version.
  5. Angelo piccone March 5, 2015 at 3:53 pm
    It’s not Scherzer money, but with this ownership $28M is still a load despite their dubious claims of financial strength. But Ethier falls into that risky category that now envelops almost the entire Mets’ offense, such as it is. A player possibly in decline like Ethier isn’t a deal accompanied by good vibes. I’ll pass and hold onto the dough for an upgrade at SS.
  6. norme March 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm
    With the Mets, it’s all about the money. Whatever we may think of getting Ethier it’s probably not going to happen. The Wilpons are not looking to enhance the budget.
    It’s a budgetary decision, not a baseball one.
  7. The King March 5, 2015 at 8:37 pm
    The guy’s been just north of mediocre for a number of years. I don’t see the point.
    • Joe Janish March 5, 2015 at 9:17 pm
      King, did you check the stats before making that comment? Ethier had a bad year in 2014, but had an OPS over .780 in 2013, 2012, and 2011 — that’s better than “just north of mediocre” in the post-PEDs era. He’s definitely not the guy he was from 2006-2010, but he was better than “just north of mediocre.”

      By your definition, the Mets have had nothing but mediocre hitters for a number of years. Since 2012, only five everyday Mets have achieved a .780 or better OPS (David Wright did it twice). So it seems they could use someone who is just north of mediocrity, because it’s an upgrade.

      • The King March 8, 2015 at 9:36 pm
        Joe, I did check the numbers and I wasn’t impressed, especially for (1) the money involved; and (2) the red flag 2014 season. As for the Mets having nothing but mediocre hitters, results speak for themselves.
  8. DaveSchneck March 5, 2015 at 10:07 pm
    No thanks on Ethier, the Mets top three OF are better than him, regardless of his cost in money.
  9. Bat March 13, 2015 at 4:06 am
    In my humble opinion, the last thing the Mets need is another aging OF signed to a long-term contract: Granderson (signed through 2017) and Cuddyer (signed through 2016) are quite enough.

    To wit:

    (1) Ethier will play the 2015 season at age 33 so his current 3 year / $56 million contract covers his age 33, 34, and 35 seasons. From my vantage point, Ethier seems to already be in a decline although as Joe states it is possible he could rebound.

    (2) I anticipate that at least one of Nimmo or Conforto will relegate either Granderson or Cuddyer to back up status by 2016 anyway, and it remains to be seen how either of these guys pushed to the bench reacts.

    (3) In connection with (2), Ethier hasn’t been very happy sitting on the Dodgers bench, so I don’t think having him complain on the Mets bench – plus possibly complain with Granderson or Cuddyer – will be an asset to team morale.

    (4) As some MSM writers and bloggers have already noted, the Mets will soon have to decide who they will try to sign long-term, and who they won’t. Instead of spending 3 years / $28 million on Ethier (if the Dodgers eat half of the remaining contract), I’d prefer to save that money and use it on (for example) a long-term contract for Harvey, Wheeler, deGromulent, Lagares, or Duda (maybe Duda – I’m still not completely sold on him and could see last year being a career year for the Ox).