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Dodgers decline 2018 option on Andre Ethier

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MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers on Sunday declined their 2018 option on outfielder Andre Ethier, making him a free agent after 12 seasons with the team.

Ethier’s option for 2018 would have paid him $17.5 million, but instead he will receive a $2.5 million buyout. 2017 was the final season of a five-year, $85 million contract extension signed in 2012.

The last two seasons were especially trying for Ethier, missing the first five months of each year with injuries — a broken tibia in 2016, and a herniated disc in his back in 2017. The 35-year-old Ethier was 8-for-34 with two home runs and four walks in September this season, hitting .235/.316/.441. He received several nice ovations from Dodgers fans in the season’s final month, including on the road in San Diego when he was first activated from the disabled list.

“It’s been a long two summers of going through these injuries and trying to fight to get back on the field. It’s been a long 12 years of playing for this organization and in front of these fans,” Ethier said “To be for the most part forgotten because I wasn’t on the field, then to come back and them embracing me was pretty special to me.”

Ethier appeared in eight of the Dodgers’ 15 postseason games in 2017, including two starts, hitting .308/.400/.538 in 15 plate appearances. His 51 career postseason games are the most in franchise history, two more than shortstop Bill Russell.

He drove in the Dodgers’ only run of Game 7 of the World Series with a pinch-hit single in what could have been his final at-bat with the franchise.

In 12 years in Los Angeles Ethier hit .285/.359/.463, a 122 OPS+, made two All-Star teams and won a Gold Glove Award. He ranks eighth in Dodgers franchise history in doubles (303), is tied for 12th in home runs (162), 13th in games played (1,455) and RBI (687), and 17th in hits (1,367) and walks (519).