Dodgers' Andre Ethier #16 reacts to the solo homerun of Scott Van Slyke to take a 2-0 lead over the San Diego Padres during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on June 3, 2013.
While the focus has been on Puig Mania and the litany of Dodger injuries, Andre Ethier has been flying under the radar hitting a mere .130/.216/.196 for the past two weeks.
The Dodgers were returning home May 24 from the tumultuous road trip in Atlanta and Milwaukee. Ethier was getting booed along with Matt Kemp at Dodger Stadium, and he spent a handful of games on the bench while Scott Van Slyke was hitting in his place.
Then a mighty injury plague hit the team.
Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis all found themselves on the Disabled List and the Dodgers were putting together a new patchwork lineup each day.
Rookies, Scott Van Slyke and Tim Federowicz, became every day players, Hanley Ramirez returned from injury, and some kid named Yasiel Puig put Los Angeles into a frenzy comparable to “Mannywood.”
Suddenly, Andre Ethier was not on anyone's radar anymore, despite the fact that he was starting every day in center field, and doing absolutely nothing with the bat.
Ethier has been putting up awful numbers this year, hitting just .232/.321/.356. Since May 24, he is 6-51. Since Matt Kemp went on the DL, he is 3-30. Since Yasiel Puig was called up, Ethier is 1-12.
This is an everyday player putting up these numbers, yet everyone is so focused elsewhere that it seems Ethier is getting a pass.
This prompts a question that should be on everyone's mind: what do the Dodgers do with Ethier when Kemp and Crawford are back in the lineup?
He is currently playing in an outfield with two rookies – Van Slyke and Puig – who are fighting to win the right to play his position in right field. And the rookies are winning.
It has only been four games, and there is no way Puig keeps up this ridiculous pace he is hitting at. But can you imagine the fan tumult if the Dodgers sat Puig in place of Ethier, who has just one hit since he was recalled?
Do the Dodgers sit Ethier and rotate him in with Puig and Van Slyke? Can they stomach watching the superstar they owe $80 million sit on the bench while he fights his way back to the starting lineup?
Trade is always an option with an outfield this crowded, and it has become a popular option with fans and media when discussing Ethier.
Of course, another team has to want Ethier.
It appears to be a no-brainer that the Dodgers are going to have to cover at least half of the $80 million left on his contract in order to get anything in return for him. Rumors have it that the New York Mets think Ethier would be a good fit in their outfield.
With the outrageous amounts of injuries the Dodgers have faced in 2013, they cannot trade Ethier until they are completely confident the outfield is in full health.
Or else, they face similar repercussions as the starting rotation, which currently has three rookies holding the places of injured players.
Remember the days of "Captain Clutch" when Andre Ethier had all those walk-off hits, and was putting up 20-30 home runs a year?
Not to say that he is washed-up or anything to that extent, but his days as a Dodger could be numbered, if he cannot hold off the surge that is coming from Scott Van Slyke and Yasiel Puig.