This is gonna sound incredibly lame, but a rumor by Peter Gammons was confirmed by Ben Maller that the Dodgers may put Andre Ethier out on the open trade market to see what he could bring back. So if you’re counting, one guy said one thing that maybe the Dodgers might want to trade a player before the trade deadline. Perhaps.
Ethier signed a 2-year/$15 mil contract in the off-season to buy out his arb. 2 and 3 years–Ethier has a fourth arbitration year in 2012–and not many players are going that cheap in baseball right now.
Ned Colletti gets a lot of flack for being dumb, and unfairly so. He’s made some very good deals in the past off-seasons–getting Manny Ramirez for spare parts–even though he’s been burned on one bad one.
While moving Ethier would be horribly unpopular, it might be the right move. Ethier’s value is at its peak and he’s 28 years old. He’s hitting well against left-handed pitchers, too, and that production may not continue next year. He was never expected to be this good and for that we’re all grateful. But that also means the chances of him repeating this production for the rest of his career are pretty slim. Very few baseball players beat the scouting reports to have an above-average career and many, many baseball players lost their groove after the age of 30. So why not see what you can get?
The Dodgers right now have two corner OF minor leaguers who make intriguing options for 2011 and Andrew Lambo specifically could see a late-season call-up if the Dodgers are out of it. Lambo’s ceiling appears to be Ethier’s production, so there’s not a lot of hope in that, but
With no further ado, here’s where Ethier could land:
Chicago White Sox: White Sox currently have a .360 wOBA coming out of right field and rumor has it they’re hot on Adam Dunn, even though Nats GM Mike Rizzo is asking a lot (Hudson AND Viciedo are the rumors). White Sox GM Kenny Williams and Colletti have a good relationship and made a trade during the off-season, so maybe they go back to that well.
New York Mets: The Mets surprisingly have the worst wOBA out of the position out of all major league teams, despite being in the hunt for the NL East title. Ethier would be a huge offensive upgrade. The Mets also have some intriguing prospects in Jenrry Mejia and Ike Davis.
Atlanta Braves: The Braves would be the only team to move Ethier to a different part of the field, and they’d probably move him to left with All-Star teammate Jason Heyward fielding right. Left field has been abysmal for the Braves, fielding six different players in the position and Ethier would be such a great improvement that it’d be worthwhile for both teams. Heyward and Ethier would be an impressive duo and the Braves have some good starting pitching pieces they could send the Dodgers way (Arodys Vizcaino and Julio Teheran, for two, though it’s unknown how much their production is affected by the Braves’ extreme pitchers parks in the minors). It’s certainly intriguing what can come of a trade between these two teams.
Anaheim Angels or Oakland A’s: I can’t ultimately see either team trading for Ethier, but there’s an outside chance that the Angels forego the usual decent-defense-decent-offense plan and the A’s try to plug him in at DH. The Angels don’t have a lot to offer unless they’re willing to give up Mike Trout. But the A’s have a few interesting parts, like Michael Taylor or Jemele Weeks. This’d be weird, though, since the A’s are further out of the AL West than the Dodgers are out of the NL West.
Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays like team-friendly contracts and Ethier has one. He makes a little less than what Pat Burrell made and could be a decent fit for the DH spot. But knowing the Rays’ management, they’d look down on his defense and his LHP/RHP splits and decide to look elsewhere.
Within the Division: The Giants, Padres and Rockies could all use some OF offense and the Dodgers could provide it at a premium cost. Ethier’s shown he can put up some awesome numbers in the heavy-pitchers division, so it’s worth looking into.
Edit: An earlier draft of this article said the deal reached between Andre Ethier and the Dodgers this past off-season, a two-year deal worth $15 mil, bought out Ethier’s arbitration years. It bought out Ethier’s year 2 and 3 arbitration years, but because Ethier was a Super 2, he has a fourth arbitration year in 2012.