The effervescent Ken Rosenthal released an article today detailing which “teams [are] talking trades later than usual this offseason.” On that list were some teams that you might recognize as engaging in some discussions with the Los Angeles Dodgers. For instance, the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox.
But they weren’t alone. The Dodgers were also on that list by Rosenthal thanks in large part to their ongoing trade talks with several teams throughout the league for some of their outfield talent. The Dodgers have too many outfielders, and trading one would free up some of that gluttony.
Ethier, who will play this season at 34, also gains full no-trade rights on April 21, seemingly adding to the team’s urgency. Problem is, Ethier was one of the Dodgers’ best hitters in the second half of last season.
That’s the Catch-22 with all of this trade chatter. The Dodgers might need Ethier’s services for the upcoming season, even at the risk of him gaining his 10-and-5 rights on April 21st if he’s still on the roster. It’s a grim reality, but a reality nonetheless.
Ethier was highly valuable towards the latter half of 2015, and the Dodgers need to come to a decision soon about whether or not they think he can replicate that 2015 or if he’s just dead money at this point. The team is willing to eat some of the salary, but teams who are interested in him have a slight problem.
Some potential suitors also are concerned about Ethier’s $17.5 million vesting option for 2018. The option will vest if Ethier reaches 550 plate appearances in 2017 or 1,100 plate appearances combined in ’16-17.
That definitely seems fair for them to be concerned about. Ethier’s averaging 413 plate appearances per season over the last two years, but the team who takes him on might play him more. And that’s the crux of the issue. While the Dodgers can pay some of his remaining tab, not all teams are going to want him.
As the offseason continues to slowly unfold, the team will have a decision to make soon. It sounds like they want to trade Alex Guerrero first, but if a suitor comes calling with a respectable offer for Ethier, the team might have to just jump all over it.