The Dodgers’ new ownership has sprung into action.
The team on Monday night agreed with right fielder Andre Ethier on a five-year, $85 million extension. The Dodgers announced the signed deal on Tuesday.
The contract also includes a $17.5 million vesting option or $2.5 million buyout for a sixth season.
The value of the deal will increase to six years, $100 million if Ethier reaches certain plate-appearance thresholds in either 2017 or 2016 and ’17 — thresholds he has passed every year since 2008. Ethier has made at least 550 plate appearances per season during that time.
Ethier, 30, was eligible for free agency at the end of the season. Starting in 2013, he will receive annual salaries of $13.5 million, $15.5 million, $18 million, $18 million and $17.5 million. His vesting option is for 2018.
”A friend of mine said a couple weeks ago, ‘You were meant to play here and you wouldn’t play good anywhere else,’ ” he said. ”That kind of rang true and let me think what’s the purpose of holding out a few more months?”
An All-Star each of the past two seasons, Ethier is again producing at an elite level for the Dodgers, who own the best record in the majors. After 61 games, Ethier is batting .287 with 10 home runs and leading the National League with 53 RBI.
”We signed Matt (Kemp) last winter and now we’ve signed Andre long-term, which to me says basically that you want to get better as an organization looking forward,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ”These two guys are our cornerstones, so it makes a commitment to the fans. Right now, ‘Dre’s in a good spot and his teammates care about him.”
The Ethier contract is the third largest in Dodgers history, behind center fielder Kemp’s eight-year, $160 million extension and right-hander Kevin Brown’s seven-year, $105 million free-agent deal.
It is also the third largest for a player who was primarily a right fielder at the time of his signing, behind Manny Ramirez’s eight-year, $160 million free-agent contract with the Red Sox and Jayson Werth’s seven-year, $126 million free-agent deal with the Nationals.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.