Sunday, May 26, 2013

Buster Olney on trading Ethier

Buster Olney of ESPN has a good article up on his blog (Insider only) discussing the possibility of the Dodgers trading Andre Ethier.  Let's take a look at the highlights:
  • The Dodgers have two options in their minor league system of outfielders they can call up: right-handed Yasiel Puig and left-handed Joc Pedersen.  I'm guessing most know about Puig already, but Pedersen is hitting .320 with 20 extra-base hits for Double-A Chattanooga.  He's starting to make some noise as the season progresses.
  • Rival scouts and officials think it will be difficult for the Dodgers to move Ethier because of his massive contract extension he inked last season, which is at $13.5 million for this year and goes up to $18 million in 2015.  He's still owed $80 million of the $85 he signed for.  That's really hard to move all of that at once.
  • If the Dodgers really are serious about moving him, they might have to eat anywhere from 50-60% of that deal, says a rival executive.
  • In 2007, his OPS was .719 against lefties.  Last season it was down to .606.  It's actually much better this season at .729, but he's definitely viewed as a platoon player at this point.
  • There's a bunch of teams listed as possible fits for him: Blue Jays, Mets, Yankees, Pirates, Rangers, A's, Orioles, and White Sox.
  • The Mets make the most sense because they have the need and financial flexibility to swing a deal.
The biggest hurdle remains how much the Dodgers are willing to admit that the deal they made with Ethier last season was a bad one.  They obviously have lots of money, but possibly taking on half of that deal, if not more, is tough to pull the trigger on.

If the Dodgers really are serious about moving him, then they may want to act fast.  In 65 at-bats in the month of May, he's hitting .262 with four extra-base hits.  He looks a little worse and worse each game.  Then you throw in his displeasure at being benched this past week, and you can see the writing on the wall.

If I'm another team's executive, I only make the deal for the right price.  There's no way I'm taking the contract of a hitter on the wrong side of 30 whose numbers continue to dwindle.  Plus there's the maturity issues that seem to not really go away.  Nothing major, but still a bit concerning.

If I'm the Dodgers, I have to start exploring who's serious about making a trade.  We all know how this team hasn't played with much intensity this year, and at some point you have to shake things up.  And in Ethier's case, it's not like he's giving many indications that he's ready to hit again.  Southpaws own him, and a pathetic .186 average with runners in scoring position is something else that cannot be ignored.

With Don Mattingly's future up in the air, Ethier could very well be the first one to go if the price is right.

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