The Dodgers will make outfielders Andre Ethier and/or Matt Kemp available in trade this winter, sources told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
Kemp, who has not played a full season since 2011, had shoulder surgery in early October, but is expected to be 100 percent by Spring Training. He is also dealing with a chronic, microfractured bone in his ankle, which doctors expect to cause further damage and could eventually threaten Kemp’s career, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. He has six years and $128 million left on his current contract.
Ethier is in the second year of a five-year, $85 million extension, which includes a $17.5 million vesting option for 2018 (with a $2.5 million buyout).
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
According to reports around the trade deadline, the Dodgers scouted the Mets a lot this past summer, supposedly watching Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell and other pitchers. So, we know there is a line between these two teams.
That said, Kemp’s situation is a total unknown… and that’s a LOT of money to gamble on if he isn’t going to the same player he once was — if he can play at all. If the Dodgers are going to eat most of that contract, fine. But, I don’t think they will, and I think they’d sooner keep him and trade Ethier. At that point, given Sandy Alderson’s budget, he needs a more known commodity than Kemp. He can’t bet that much money on a guy who could easily end up in surgery.
In June, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman said rival executives thought the Dodgers would need to pay at least half of Ethier’s contract, or take back an equally bad contract, if they want to find a trade for their outfielder. I assume this is still the case.
Ethier struggled early in the year, putting his job in jeopardy. However, he turned it around and played much better later in the summer before injuring his ankle in September and derailing a strong second half. What’s more, he started walking more and striking out less, which I assume will pique Sandy Alderson’s interest. However, even at five years and $60 million, he still seems a bit overvalued considering what the Giants gave Hunter Pence, I think Alderson has to give him a look again. He has the ability to be an All-Star and the cost might be less than the asking price of other outfielders on the market.
Andrew Wharton, Contributor
Ethier’s contract is a burden. That being said, I’ve always liked Ethier and I think he would benefit from a change of scenery. He’s always been a good, consistent bat in LA’s lineup and he plays Gold Glove defense. However, it will all be about the package the Dodgers expect in return. While I’d rather have Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez, if Alderson can get Ethier for a lesser package, it’s a move he has to think about.