Dodgers News: Andre Ethier Expresses Confidence In Roster
Andre Ethier, Corey Seager
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

While there hasn’t necessarily been the same sweeping changes to match last offseason’s roster overhaul, the Los Angeles Dodgers will undoubtably have a different feel in 2016 than they did the year prior.

Most notably, Zack Greinke is now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, having signed a six-year, $206.5 million contract. Los Angeles was in negotiations to re-sign the 32 year old before Arizona entered the picture with their large offer.

After a subpar year from veteran Jimmy Rollins at shortstop, the Dodgers now hand the reins over to Corey Seager.

Seager supplanted Rollins as the starter over the final month of the regular season and during the postseason.

The 21-year-old shortstop added to his growing list of accolades this week as he was ranked No. 1 overall in Baseball Prospectus’ 2016 top 101 prospects.

The Dodgers also have some change at second base with a platoon of Kiké Hernandez and Chase Utley expected to fill the void left by Howie Kendrick. The 32-year-old Kendrick declined the Dodgers’ qualifying offer and remains a free agent.

He expressed an interest in re-signing with the club, but there’s been little to suggest Los Angeles has entertained that possibility. Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda represent the notable signings this offseason.

The starting pitchers in a sense embody the Dodgers’ focus on adding depth to their rotation. Amid the changes on the roster, Andre Ethier believes the team remains on track to compete for a fourth straight National League West title, according to Ken Gurnick of

“[The front office] made moves they think put us in the best situation. I don’t feel any less confident going into the spring than I did last year or the year before that. We’ve got guys I’m confident can compete and win games and the NL West. We might not be as flashy of names on paper as in the past, but sometimes good teams aren’t always the ones you think are expected to win.”

The Dodgers’ star-studded rosters over the past three seasons has led to plenty of regular-season success, but also shortcomings in October. On top of winning three consecutive NL West titles — a first in franchise history — Los Angeles has also won a minimum of 90 games over the past three seasons for the first time since 1976-78.

As players have come and gone, Ethier has cemented himself as the longest-tenured player on the roster. Assuming the versatile outfielder is with the club on April 21, Ethier will have reached 10 years of Major-League service time, including the last five with the Dodgers, and thus earn the right to refuse any trade as a 10-and-5 player.

Ethier, who will turn 34 years old on April 11, hit .294/.366/.486 with 14 home runs, 20 doubles, 53 RBIs, a .366 wOBA and 137 wRC+ in 142 games last season. His resurgence from a down 2014 came at an opportune time with hamstring injuries limiting Yasiel Puig to a career-low 79 games.

In the face of ongoing trade speculation, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said last November that Ethier fits with the club moving forward.

Ethier is owed $18 million this season and $17.5 million in 2017. His contract includes a $17.5 million club option in 2018 with a $2.5 million buyout.