Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers grounds out but brings in a run from third base against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Ethier currently leads the National League with 52 RBI, but otherwise his season fits in fairly well with the rest of his career. Now 30, Ethier's more likely to decline than improve from this point, let alone improve.
Is Ethier worth $17 million per season? Well, that depends. Based purely on the numbers, he's been worth around $12 million per season over the last five seasons, so $17 million per season -- into his middle 30s, no less -- does seem like a real stretch.
But the Dodgers can afford to overpay some, and when they get their next TV deal they should be capable of really overpaying. Which doesn't mean any team should overpay. Except if everyone's significantly richer, the price for top players almost has to go up. Maybe way up.
It's not likely that $17 million will ever seem like a bargain for Andre Ethier. But it might someday look a lot better than it does now. Now, it looks like some kind of overpay.