The Dodgers are reportedly close to a contract extension with right fielder Andre Ethier, who will be the first big splash of the new ownership group. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported the deal as "close," at five years and a guaranteed $85 million, plus a vesting option for a sixth year. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports confirmed the report.
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported that the deal is expected to be announced on Tuesday. Hernandez also provided the year-by-year breakdown:
2013: $13.5 million
2014: $15.5 million
2015: $18 million
2016: $18 million
2017: $17.5 million
2018: $17.5 million option ($2.5 million buyout)
Heyman reports the 2018 option could vest based on plate appearances in 2017 or 2016-2017, and Brown's source called the thresholds "easily attainable."
Ethier, though currently in the midst of a 5-for-46 slump, has seen his power return this year after undergoing knee surgery last September. A fully healthy Ethier is hitting .288/.349/.511 with 19 doubles and 10 home runs this season, after hitting 11 home runs all of last season. He leads the National League with 53 RBI.
With numerous big names signing extensions with their teams in the last year or so, the pending free agent class was beginning to lose its luster. Ethier, who is making $10.95 million, was setting himself up to be the most attractive offensive free agent option this side of Josh Hamilton. But it looks like that free agency will be avoided, if these reports are true.
This contract would cover Ethier's age 31-35 seasons, plus his age-36 season if the option is picked up. Even without Ethier, the Dodgers' payroll for 2013 figured to be north of $108 million, so adjust your projections accordingly.
More news to follow, plus postgame reaction, later tonight.