Sunday, January 4, 2015

Might the Orioles be interested in Ethier?

That would be a yes, according to Orioles' insider Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports.  While no specifics were given, the O's and Dodgers have held discussions about an Ethier trade, not too long after a Matt Kemp deal never came to fruition.

From what I can gather, I wouldn't say a deal is anywhere close to being done, it's just being talked about.  The biggest holdup is (shocker of shocks...) Ethier's hefty contract.  Right now he's owed a whopping $53.5 million over the next three years.  He even has a vesting option for 2018 at $17.5 million, or a $2.5 million buyout.  Um... I think we know which deal he'll end up getting in 2018!

Anyway, if you're the Dodgers, you're happy to engage in discussions, even with Kemp in San Diego.  Ethier did a good job in being very flexible last season, as he was called upon to play center after Kemp failed so badly at it in May.  Not soon after, he was riding the pine, as the Dodgers went with Carl Crawford in left, Yasiel Puig in center, and Kemp in right to win the division.

All the while, Ethier really didn't do anything to force Don Mattingly's hand, as his numbers fell off badly.  In 130 games, he hit a mere .249 with four homers, 42 RBIs, and two steals.  Simply put, his power just completely abandoned him.

There's no doubt that he's the kind of guy who needs a change of scenery.  He's not a big power hitter anymore, but I certainly don't think he's as bad as the numbers he put up in 2014, either.  Maybe Baltimore would be a good spot for him.  Nick Markakis is in Atlanta and Nelson Cruz is in Seattle, so there's really only Adam Jones in that outfield.  Ethier could slide right in.

Of course, any deal involving Ethier would have to include the Dodgers eating a big portion of that bloated deal.  But if the Dodgers really are ready to go with Joc Pederson playing a much larger role this upcoming season, then Ethier is expendable.

No comments: