The Dodgers and Andre Ethier have exchanged salary arbitration numbers today, as they were unable to come to terms (yet) on a contract like the club did with Russell Martin and Jonathan Broxton earlier in the day. Per Tony Jackson, here are the numbers:
If the two sides can't come to terms on a contract before February (the midpoint is $3.2 million), both Andre Ethier and the Dodgers will have an arbitration hearing after which a 3-person arbitration panel will choose one side or the other.
It would behoove Ethier to try to settle before this gets to an arbitration hearing, because I don't think it's a hearing he can win. Ethier is a Super Two, meaning he is among the top 17% in service time of players with at least two years but less than three years service time. Either has 2 years, 153 days service time.
Let's look at some outfielders with comparable service time and performance to Ethier:
When I looked at Ethier's arbitration situation earlier this month, we had fewer comps. But now, thanks to Luke Scott signing with the Orioles, the picture becomes a bit clearer.
When you look at that group above, Either is probably the best of the bunch, but not obviously so. Luke Scott has a higher OPS+ and more HR (in fewer games), and he's only going to make $2.4 million in 2009. The Dodgers' salary offer of $2.65 million would make Either the highest paid among this group of Super Two outfielders.
Either's $3.75 million submission would put him too far ahead of his peers. For his sake, he would be better off striking a deal with the club for $3.2 million or so before facing off against the buzzsaw that is Kim Ng.