Over the weekend, Los Angeles Times troll master T.J Simers wrote a column for his newspaper that dropped not so subtle hints that Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier was being forced to play injured. The story centers around this quote from Ethier:

It’s only going to get worse from this point. I’ve dealt with it all season long, but as the season goes on my body wears down. That’s just the way it is — I keep getting put in the lineup, so what am I supposed to do?

Obviously, manager Don Mattingly had some concerns over the connotations behind such a quote. He shared his side of the story in a follow up to the article by Steve Dilbeck.

I got kind of blindsided by that. To me, the way I read it is, Dre’s been telling us he can’t play and we just said, ‘You’re playing anyway.’ That definitely isn’t the case.

General Manager Ned Colletti held a closed door meeting with Ethier and Mattingly to sort out the issue, but it’s hard to imagine Ethier, who will enter his final year of arbitration before free agency next season, spending too much more time in a Dodgers uniform. While he’s not the non-tender candidate that James Loney is at first base, the Dodgers would definitely be interested in dealing Ethier this offseason, before his value drops any further.

As one might assume, the Dodgers’ payroll is a mess for next season. In addition to owing $11.5 million to Manny Ramirez  and Andruw Jones, neither of whom are still on the team, Los Angeles has $35 million locked up in five players, none of whom are Matt Kemp: Ted Lilly, Chad Billingsley, Juan Uribe, Casey Blake and Matt Guerreir. Ethier, Kemp, Loney and Hong-Chih Kuo all enter their final year or arbitration, as Clayton Kershaw enters his first. Twelve other regulars are free agents.

Even for a financially stable organization, the timing wouldn’t be pretty. While it’s difficult to push a lot of blame toward Colletti for the payroll mess because we don’t know how much of this is his fault and how much is ownership’s doing, it’s hard to believe that the same decision makers in Chicago have listed the current Dodgers general manager alongside Billy Beane’s name as potential candidates to fill the opening in the Cubs’ front office.

And The Rest

The Good: Vin Scully is going to return for his 63rd season in the broadcast booth for the L.A. Dodgers.

The Bad: Barry Bonds’ conviction was upheld by a federal judge.

The Ugly: Jose Bautista is full of ‘roid rage:

Joe Mauer is tired of having his toughness questioned and he’ll hit anyone who says something with his purse.

Instead of celebration, Dayan Viciedo’s home run in his debut only caused more questioning of White Sox management.

Ranking Chipper Jones among the best at his position, presumably in terms of baseball skill and not personality or IQ.

The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees had some difficulty seeing eye to eye when it came to scheduling games around Hurricane Irene this weekend.

Bill Baer compares Cole Hamels and James Shields using BABIP.

Mickey Mantle and the FBI.

With Jim Hendry out, the future of the Chicago Cubs should be clear.

The San Francisco Giants rookie first baseman / emergency left fielder Brandon Belt is The Baby Giraffe.