With baseball’s Winter Meetings set to take place in less than a week in Florida, the Los Angeles Dodgers have several holes for GM Ned Colletti to fill. Third base, the bullpen and the bench are all areas that need to be addressed, but on everyone’s mind is whether or not they’ll trade one of their four pricey outfielders.
There’s been talk that teams have called on Yasiel Puig and it’s known that as many as four or five teams are interested in buying low on center fielder Matt Kemp. However, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com it’s more likely that those two stay and another outfielder goes this winter:
The Dodgers will probably have a better chance of moving Ethier than Kemp, given the injuries that Kemp has sustained in recent seasons, to his left shoulder and ankle. Kemp hasn’t started running yet in the wake of his latest injury, but they believe there is a better than 50-50 shot he’ll be able to do so by the start of spring training.
The news isn’t all that surprising, but trading Ethier will fetch the Dodgers less of a return than Kemp. Ethier signed a five-year $85 million contract during the winter of 2012 as an act of good faith from the Guggenheim Group. Teams like the Seattle Mariners and maybe Texas Rangers could be interested in acquiring the outfielders as they both would like to add another hitter.
2013 was a down year for Ethier as he hit .272 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI and missed the last few weeks of the season with a microfracture injury to his leg. While the Dodgers are still reportedly taking offers for Matt Kemp, it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers selling low on their franchise player.
However, there are some that believe the Dodgers will hang onto all four outfielders as Carl Crawford, Kemp and even Ethier have shown they aren’t capable of staying healthy for the entire season. Much of management’s decision about trading an outfielder hinges on their desire to get younger in the outfield.
Prospect Joc Pederson, who’s been mentioned in a possible David Price trade, seems like he’s on the cusp of earning a promotion to the big leagues. Every day it sounds like Colletti and company could be going a different direction with their outfield as the picture will become clearer in the coming weeks.