Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier could make $17.5 million in 2018 if the… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
As long as Andre Ethier continues to play regularly, he shouldn't have any problems extending his recently signed five-year, $85-million contract by another year.
Ethier's deal includes a $17.5-million team option for a sixth year, in 2018. If the Dodgers decline the option, they would owe him a $2.5-million buyout fee.
But the sixth year in the deal will become guaranteed if Ethier makes 550 plate appearances in 2017 or a combined 1,110 plate appearances in 2016 and 2017, according to people familiar with the contract. If the option is picked up or vests, the total value of the contract would increase to $100 million.
Ethier has made more than 550 plate appearances every season since becoming an everyday outfielder for the Dodgers in 2008.
Last season, he missed almost all of September to undergo a knee operation, but still finished with 551 plate appearances. When Ethier played in a career-high 160 games in 2009, he made 685 plate appearances.
Ethier will be 36 in 2018.
Ethier's contract doesn't include a no-trade clause.
But players with 10 years of major league service time, including the last five with the same team, have the right to refuse any trade. Ethier started this season with almost six years of major league service time, meaning he would gain "10-5" rights early in the 2016 season if he remains with the Dodgers.
Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda said he is feeling "so much better" after doctors last week inserted a stent to clear one of his heart arteries that was almost completely blocked.
"I feel stronger," Lasorda said Thursday night in his first public appearance since suffering what the Dodgers called a mild heart attack in New York. Lasorda said doctors discovered one of his arteries was 90% blocked.
Lasorda, 84, participated in a lively panel discussion at a benefit for Joe Torre's Safe At Home Foundation at the Hotel Bel-Air. Lasorda and Torre, two former Dodgers managers, joined current Manager Don Mattingly, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia and St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa in a conversation led by broadcaster Vin Scully.
Lasorda said he felt dizzy while representing the Dodgers at the annual baseball draft. Paramedics soon arrived and advised Lasorda to go to a hospital.
"I said, 'I'm not going to the hospital. There's nothing wrong with me.'" Lasorda said. "The commissioner said, 'You are going to the hospital.' Joe Torre came by and said, 'You are going to the hospital.' That was great, that they did that. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known [about the blocked artery]. I'm glad that they made me go."
Lasorda could return to Dodger Stadium this weekend.
Aaron Miles, who batted .275 as a utility man for the Dodgers last season, has retired. Miles batted .235 in 18 games for the Dodgers' triple-A affiliate this year. … Javy Guerra will sign autographs at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's thrift store in Lincoln Heights on Saturday. Guerra will appear from noon to 1:30 p.m. He is replacing Dee Gordon, who was originally scheduled to appear.
Staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this report.