By claiming catcher Ryan Lavarnway off waivers, the Los Angeles Dodgers continued the trend of working on their roster with smaller moves. To date, the Dodgers’ biggest acquisition was in their trade for reliever Adam Peralta, with the trade for Chris Heisey the next move of any potential significance.
With winter meetings set to begin Monday, the Dodgers’ first big trade could be around the corner. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the team would benefit from moving an outfielder and it’s led to Matt Kemp’s name being tied to numerous trade rumors.
While Kemp has garnered plenty of interest, one executive believes the Dodgers’ true desire is to trade Andre Ethier, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark:
Exec of team interested in Matt Kemp says he still isn't convinced #Dodgers will deal him. Says "Ethier's still the guy they want to move."
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 5, 2014
Ethier is coming off what he called the most humbling season of his career, and was recently critical of the platoon the Dodgers utilized while also adding he wants to remain in Los Angeles as a starter.
After beginning the year as a regular starter and again resurfacing in center field following Kemp’s benching, Ethier eventually fell out of favor in the outfield picture. The demotion of sorts relegated Ethier to a role as a pinch-hitter and occasional starter, which he wasn’t pleased with.
Despite his unhappiness, Ethier vowed to put his feelings aside for the betterment of the team. While the Dodgers managed to get through the season with a surplus of outfielders, they undoubtedly would be better off alleviating the logjam with a trade that could address a deficiency — namely shortstop or the bullpen.
In any trade involving Crawford, Ethier or Kemp, the Dodgers presumably would need to pay a portion of the traded outfielder’s remaining salary. Ethier will turn 33 in April and is guaranteed $53.5 million over the next three years with a $17.5 million vesting option for a fourth season.
Coming off a year in which he hit .249/.322/.370 with four home runs and 42 RBIs, the Dodgers may be asked to send a significant amount of money in a trade involving the outfielder.