It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers have been attempting to trade Andre Ethier the last few seasons, but could a trade be on the way for a different reason entirely?
The 33-year old left-handed hitting outfielder managed to put up a .294 batting average last season while slugging 14 home runs. It was, arguably, his best season since 2010.
But, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, there is an important reason the Dodgers might try to trade him very soon:
Ethier will be 34 on April 10, and 11 days later, he will earn his 10-and-five rights (10 years of major league service, the last five with the same team) and can refuse any trade.
The 10-5 rule with players is a very big one, since it means Ethier could refuse any trade that the Dodgers bring before him. That’s why what happens with him over the next couple months is a huge deal, as Dilbeck explains:
And that’s a problem for the Dodgers. His trade value may have increased after his productive 2015, but not enough to draw significant interest at a player his age and still owed $38 million on the final two years of his contract. If a slight number of teams do express interest — no doubt with a caveat that the Dodgers absorb a significant amount of contract — the Dodgers would not want Ethier to be able to nix a potential deal because he has no interest in playing there.
Trading Ethier would at least free up some money and would help alleviate some of the problems with having too many outfielders. But Ethier was good last season, and the injury questions surrounding Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig, as well as Joc Pederson’s struggles at the plate over the second half of 2015, might make it tough to deal him.
Either way, the Dodgers have a tough call with Ethier. It’s either move him now and hope everyone stays healthy and plays like you want them to play, or keep him around and stare at the very real possibility that you can’t trade him even if you wanted to because he’ll have the right to refuse a trade.
This is a tricky situation, and it’s one the Dodgers will need to sort out very soon.