Going into the 2015 season the Los Angeles Dodgers will have a payroll of over $250 million. This will be the second-straight year that the highest payroll in Major League Baseball will be in Los Angeles.
While the Dodgers new front office, led by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, did manage to reduce the payroll by trading Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres, plenty of large contracts remain on the roster.
Among them is Carl Crawford, whom Jon Heyman of CBS Sports ranked in his top-18 untradeable contracts:
4. Dodgers OF Carl Crawford: He’s still good enough to lead off for a World Series favorite. But thanks to his bloated deal, he apparently attracted no takers this winter, allegedly even less than Andre Ethier, who lost his starting job last year and seems unlikely to regain it quickly. Crawford never should have gone to Boston, where once inside the fishbowl he instantly transformed from one of the best players in the league to one of the worst. He’s somewhere in the middle now; too bad that contract still ranks near the top here. There’s $62.25 million left over three years; he may be worth a third of that, if the Dodgers are lucky. Let’s remember, though, that the Dodgers’ strategy was to add marquee names to regenerate interest following Frank McCourt’s disgraceful tenure. It worked, to the point of an $8 billion local TV deal.
Also included on Heyman’s list is Andre Ethier:
5. Dodgers OF Andre Ethier: He’s vowed to try to win back his job, but if touted rookie Joc Pederson is anything close to what’s expected, that may be a long shot. Ethier always was a liability against lefty pitchers, but his overall productivity has diminished with his playing time. Say this for him, he was a pretty good sport. So are Dodgers owners, on the hook for $56 million over the next three seasons.
Crawford and Ethier are both battling for starting outfield spots this spring, although likely at separate positions. Crawford figures to man left field so long as he’s able to remain healthy and Ethier is competing to start in center.
Crawford has missed a combined 234 games over the last three seasons due to shoulder, hamstring and ankle injuries. His speed is not what it once used to be, as he stole 45 or more bases in seven out of eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 33-year-old Crawford has stolen a combined 38 bases while getting caught 10 times in his two seasons with the Dodgers, and is confident he’ll be able to swipe plenty of bags this season.
While Ethier has remained relatively healthy throughout his career, the two-time All-star’s production has dipped throughout the last four seasons. He lost the starting job in the middle of 2014, and finished the year with a .249 batting average, batting just .222 against left-handed pitching.
Of the two, Ethier has been mentioned most frequently in trade talks and recently stated he would like to be moved if he’s not going to have a starting role with the Dodgers.
Dodgers 2015 FanFest