Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, a two-time All-Star who would have been eligible for free agency after the season, has agreed in principle to a five-year, $85 million contract extension that will keep him in town through at least the 2017 season, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed Monday.
The deal also includes a $17.5 million club option for 2018 that would automatically vest if Ethier were to reach certain plate appearance thresholds in 2017 or in 2016-17 combined, potentially taking the total value of the contract to $100 million over six years.
The new deal will pay Ethier salaries of $13.5 million in 2013, $15.5 million in 2014, $18 million in both 2015 and 2016 and $17.5 million in 2017. There is a $2.5 million buyout of the club option if it doesn't vest and the club chooses not to exercise it.
Ethier declined to comment on the new contract after Monday night's 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, in which he went hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts.
"I have been instructed that I won't comment ... until tomorrow," Ethier said. "There will be an announcement tomorrow. We will talk tomorrow, I promise."
Ethier, 30, was an All-Star each of the past two seasons, then avoided arbitration last winter by agreeing on a one-year deal with a $10.95 million base salary. He entered Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels hitting .287 for the season and leading the National League with 53 RBIs despite struggling since the start of June.
Ethier becomes the latest of several young Dodgers to be locked into long-term deals that will prevent the club from losing them to free agency. Fifteen months ago, former All-Star right-hander Chad Billingsley agreed to a three-year, $35 million deal that didn't begin until this year, and last winter, All-Star center fielderMatt Kemp accepted the largest contract in Dodgers history, an eight-year, $160 million deal.