The Los Angeles Dodgers finally have some freedom while dealing with potential free agents, including their own players set to leave in the near future. With right fielder Andre Ethier set to be eligible for free agency next winter, the club has now expressed interest in keeping him a Dodger for the foreseeable future.
According to a report on Sunday, the club is already prepared to have general manager Ned Colletti meet with Ethier and his agent in the coming weeks.
Here is the news courtesy of ESPN's Jim Bowden.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has stayed in touch with Andre Ethier agents CAA while waiting for ownership change...he has already recommended ext— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) April 29, 2012
Ethier has battled injuries over the last few seasons, although his production and impact on the lineup is huge whenever he plays. Now 31 years old, Ethier likely has a few more productive seasons left in him before he begins to really decline.
Most estimates believe the right fielder could be set to receive a four- or five-year deal in the offseason worth something around $15 million dollars annually. That would mean the Dodgers would be committing $35 million dollars a year to Ethier and Matt Kemp, who received an eight-year extension during this past offseason.
Given the kind of money the new ownership in L.A. has, that really should be a doable feat for years to come. You worry about Ethier possibly getting hurt again -- and in-turn his defense and production at the plate declining -- but that will have to be a risk they assume should the Dodgers offer a big contract extension.
For more on the team and their possible negotiations moving forward, check out True Blue LA.