Heading into this offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfield had a couple major concerns: youth (can Joc Pederson or develop consistency?), financial burden (Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier are due to make almost $80 million between the two of them) and health (Neither Yasiel Puig or Carl Crawford played half of last season’s games).
By the time the playoffs came around, there wasn’t a single steady bat to be found out there, which severely hampered what the team could do offensively.
So, aside from whether or not the team could bring back Zack Greinke, it’s fair to say the outfield has to rank right out there in terms of aspects of the roster that need to be fixed.
When speaking to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, though, GM Farhan Zaidi sounded pretty comfortable with at least bringing keeping Ethier around in 2016.
“Andre had a big year for us, and he fits very well on our team going forward,” Zaidi said.
Ethier, somehow now 34, is eligible for the 10 and 5 year rule – meaning that because he’s spent 10 years in the major league and five with his current team, he’ll have the power to veto any trade this coming season.
Compared to the other outfielders listed above (Pederson aside), Ethier could arguably be moved the easiest. Yes, Puig has a very workable contract and is young and super-talented, but I don’t think the Dodgers would want to sell so low, as he’s coming off his worst season. The Dodgers would likely have to eat all of Crawford’s contract, leaving Ethier – who is coming off a bounce back season.
If the Dodgers want to go after someone like Justin Upton or Jason Heyward (they very well might not), someone will have to be moved, both for the financial freedom to pay Heyward or Upton, but also for the playing time they’ll deserve upon arrival.
Ethier’s had a good career as a Dodger and was overpaid by the previous administration. It sounds like the current administration is comfortable keeping him around, which probably eliminates the Dodgers from contention for the bigger outfield names available.