Andre Ethier & The Next Five Years

What does the horizon look like for Andre Ethier over the next five years?

The Dodgers later today will make official the contract extension for Andre Ethier, with a 1 p.m. PDT press conference. There has been plenty of reaction so far to the five-year, $85 million deal - see FanGraphs, Dodger Thoughts, Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness, and Chad Moriyama for more.

But I wanted to see what the next five years might look like for Ethier, who has been a pretty consistent hitter, especially when healthy (his OPS+ the last five years: 132, 132, 133, 121, 134). To find hitters like Ethier in their age 31-35 seasons since 2000 I looked back - using the great Baseball-Reference.com - at outfielders from 1995-2007 with at least 2,000 plate appearances and an OPS+ from 120 to 140.

Ages 26-30 Ages 31-35
Player Years PA BA/OBP/SLG (OPS+) Years PA BA/OBP/SLG (OPS+)
C.Floyd '99-'03 2,435 .300/.383/.540 (139) '04-'08 2,065 .266/.352/.458 (110)
J.Gonzalez '96-'00 2,965 .310/.358/.597 (138) '01-'05 1,376 .302/.345/.540 (125)
T.Salmon '95-'99 3,002 .297/.400/.529 (138) '00-'04 2,656 .269/.376/.463 (118)
M.Ordonez '00-'04 2,886 .313/.376/.550 (137) '05-'09 2,809 .320/.382/.495 (128)
S.Green '99-'03 3,487 .288/.373/.535 (137) '04-'07 2,406 .279/.351/.451 (107)
J.D.Drew '02-'06 2,374 .284/.395/.507 (134) '07-'11 2,379 .264/.370/.455 (114)
S.Sosa '95-'99 3,298 .278/.343/.567 (132) '00-'04 3,210 .295/.390/.612 (156)
J.Burnitz '95-'99 2,094 .271/.373/.528 (131) '00-'04 2,998 .245/.336/.476 (108)
Ethier '08-'12 2,669 .290/.365/.488 (131)
J.Edmonds '96-'00 2,589 .295/.377/.528 (129) '01-'05 2,894 .291/.404/.584 (155)
C.Beltran '03-'07 3,213 .278/.365/.519 (127) '08-'12 2,154 .292/.381/.509 (140)
T.Nixon '00-'04 2,427 .281/.369/.503 (123) '05-'08 1,318 .263/.357/.393 (95)
R.Greer '95-'99 3,138 .308/.392/.490 (122) '00-'02 951 .290/.362/.438 (104)
B.Higginson '97-'01 3,067 .283/.367/.480 (121) '02-'05 1,596 .250/.336/.385 (96)

Sammy Sosa, Jim Edmonds, and Carlos Beltran were the only three of the bunch to improve in their age 31-35 seasons. This group collectively averaged 2,844 plate appearances from age 26-30, and averaged 2,216 PA from ages 31-35, a 22.1% drop, with only three of the 13 players accumulating more PA as they aged. Four of the 13 players didn't even make it to their age-35 season.

There is a fair amount of risk that Ethier could fall off a cliff from a production standpoint, with fellow Dodgers right fielder Shawn Green providing a prime example. But if Ethier does decline, the Dodgers are hoping for more Magglio Ordonez and less Trot Nixon.

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