The entertainment has arrived to the Dodgers’ front office again, but this time, expect GM Ned Colletti to work out a trade for outfielder Andre Ethier.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports talks about two AL teams that are interested in trading for the Dodgers’ right fielder, but, adds that the Dodgers are not interested in moving their star.
One question: Why not?
It comes with an answer too: They will move Ethier this time around.
Remember at the beginning of the 2011 season when many believed that Ethier entertained the thought of moving away from the Dodgers and onto the Boston Red Sox?
Since then he has been the subject of trade rumors more often than not, enduring the chatter and continuing to perform in Los Angeles.
But this time you have to think that the Dodgers are going to shoot for the stars and make a deal happen.
Why would the Dodgers trade Ethier?
Dodgers team president Stan Kasten has openly expressed his desire for the Dodgers to boast a team full of all-stars.
By checking the roster this morning, the team still has a projected opening day lineup that looks like this:
- C: A.J. Ellis
- 1B: Adrian Gonzalez
- 2B: Mark Ellis
- 3B: Luis Cruz
- SS: Hanley Ramirez
- LF: Carl Crawford
- CF: Matt Kemp
- RF: Andre Ethier
A.J. Ellis made a run at a bid for the all-star game in Kansas City last season, and can pass as an all-star at catcher, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see the position upgraded at the July trade deadline.
Sure, Cruz has grown to become a fan favorite, and clutch in the timeliest of situations, but, he also could be the first victim of such a trade.
In essence, the Dodgers will be moving Ethier to fill holes elsewhere.
Speed or Power?
The World Series champions of the past have not won titles by boasting a lineup of juggernaut players. Instead, they perfectly (in most cases) placed pieces of a puzzle, one that solved the championship equation.
If you look at the Dodgers’ lineup, you will find players that can hit for average, provide power, throw the ball and field well.
Only one thing is missing: A dedicated speedster.
This is where Bourn comes into play.
Bourn, 30 on Dec. 27, hit .274/.348/.391 for the Atlanta Braves in 2012 in 155 games.
It’s a step down from Ethier in the sense that Andre hit .284/.354/.460.
However, Bourn provided for 42 stolen bases in 55 attempts, something the Dodgers lineup would benefit greatly from at the top.
Carl Crawford stole 18 bases in his last Major League season of over 100 games, back in 2011. Presumably he could be the lead off guy in the lineup if you choose to go with Swisher.
After all it’s Crawford’s elbow that was his primary issue, not anything related to running.
My objection to Crawford is his inability to draw walks.
In a 162-game average, Bourn draws 55 walks against Crawford’s 37.
Ideally, they would make a great 1-2 punch as an introduction to the heart of the lineup.
Power is already there in the likes of Ramirez, Kemp and Gonzalez.
What can the Dodgers get for Ethier?
You have to believe that the Dodgers are talking to the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians. They are hypothetical guesses of course, but make sense.
Both acquisitions would allow for the Dodgers to go in a different direction.
Checking in with the 24-year old Andrus (the more likely situation) would allow the Dodgers to acquire a young shortstop that would allow for Ramirez to move over to third base again, and campaign for the Dodgers to sign Swisher in right field.
The switch-hitting Swisher would provide a cut in average for the Dodgers, but add some more pop. Plus, he is already used to playing on a stacked team, having done so in New York with the Yankees for four seasons.
Meanwhile, should they go with Cabrera, they will increase their need for speed, and could go after Bourn.
Both Andrus and Cabrera are slated to become free agents in 2015, and are definitely attainable as the Dodgers have the proper pieces.
What should happen
The Dodgers should go after Cabrera, a shortstop that will provide another pad for the likes of Gonzalez and Ramirez in the No. 6 or 7 spot.
They should then sign Bourn, giving them a speedster atop the lineup.
It would give the Dodgers a lineup that looks like this:
- RF, Michael Bourn
- LF, Carl Crawford
- CF, Matt Kemp
- 1B, Adrian Gonzalez
- 3B, Hanley Ramirez
- SS, Asdrubal Cabrera
- 2B, Mark Ellis
- C, A.J. Ellis
With only one player left in the non-all-star category, the Dodgers are well on their way toward becoming the most feared lineup in baseball, but not one just with the power to hit every ball out of the park, but one that can hit, mash, run, field, and throw, or otherwise known as the five tools of baseball.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with covering two spots with one player, and the team has the money to do so.