Heading into the 2014 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a surplus of outfielders at the major league level. Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig are currently on the roster and top prospect Joc Pederson is close to being ready in the minor leagues.
Most believe the Dodgers will end up trading one of them before the start of the 2014 season as they’ve stated they want to get younger in the outfield. However, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, it sounds like they’re the favorites to sign this outfielder after the 2016 season:
An MLB source who has spent time with Giancarlo Stanton this offseason said he seems increasingly smitten with the Dodgers and the Hollywood lifestyle and part-time owner Magic Johnson and has buddied up with Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. The Dodgers are the front-runner to land him when he becomes a free agent after 2016. The Marlins very likely would consider dealing him next winter if he rejects an expected multiyear offer in the coming months.
Stanton, 24, is arbitration eligible for the next three years before possibly hitting free agency in 2017. After the Marlins traded away Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Heath Bell in the last two years he voiced his displeasure with how things are being run in Florida. The Southern California product is one of the best power hitters in baseball, but is injury prone.
During his career, he’s battled hamstring and leg injuries while hitting 117 home runs in just 489 career games. In his four-year major league career, Stanton is averaging a 3.7 WAR and had seven outfield assists in 116 games in 2013.
While it’s hard to project what the Dodger roster will look like in three years, it’s likely that Ethier wouldn’t be around while Crawford will be entering his contract year in 2017. The Dodgers have a cluttered outfield as it is, but depending on what happens in upcoming off-seasons, it sounds like a logical fit between the two sides if Stanton isn’t traded prior.
ICYMI: The Dodgers and Don Mattingly agreed to a three-year contract extension