Mutual Interest Between Red Sox And Andre Ethier?

By Alastair Ingram

According to a report from Sean McAdam, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier told some of his friends that he would like to play for the Red Sox.

Ethier is a friend and former Arizona State teammate of Dustin Pedroia, and the prospect of adding Ethier’s bat to the Red Sox’ lineup is intriguing to say the least…

July 23, 2010 Los Angeles, CA..Dodgers Andre Ethier  in action during the Major League Baseball game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Mets defeated the Dodgers, 6-1..Josh Thompson/CSM.

Ethier downplayed the rumor on Wednesday night with the following statement: “It’s obviously hearsay, especially at this point. It doesn’t even make sense to comment on something like this.”

Still, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Ethier is in fact tickled by the possibility of playing in Boston.

The left-handed hitter is 29 years old and has one year left on a 2 year, $15.25 million deal he signed in LA prior to this season. Ethier will make $9.5 million in 2011 and will also be in line for a hefty extension (although he isn’t officially eligible for free agency until 2013).

The Red Sox have money, fans, and his buddy Pedroia. What’s not to love?

There’s also no reason to believe that the Sox wouldn’t have interest in Ethier.  He hit 31 home runs with 106 RBI last year for the Dodgers, and was putting together another terrific season this year before breaking his finger.

In just 123 games this season, Ethier is hitting .286 with 21 homers and 74 RBI. He’s posted a .353 on-base percentage and a .489 slugging percentage (slightly down from .508 and .510 in his previous 2 seasons).

Ethier has played predominantly in right field during his Dodger career but has also seen significant time in left, which would presumably be his hypothetical role in Boston. The outfielder has played 210 games in left since the start of the 2006 season, but hasn’t started there since 2008.

The Sox could dangle the enigmatic Daisuke Matsuzaka and a 2nd tier prospect in a potential deal. Matsuzaka has 2 years and $20 million remaining on his contract and may benefit from a change of scenery and weaker offenses in the National League.

The Dodgers have brought in numerous Asian pitchers over the past decade (Hideo Nomo, Takashi Saito, Hiroki Kuroda, Hong-Chih Kuo), and Dice-K could be willing to waive his no-trade clause to get closer to his native Japan.

Ethier isn’t a star in the Majors quite yet, but he’s pretty close. With a few more years of 30 and 100 production, there’s no doubt that he’ll become a household name in the baseball world.

That process has already begun on the west coast. Perhaps it will finish on the east coast.

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