ESPN’s Jim Bowden Believes Carl Crawford Or Andre Ethier Should Be Traded
The Los Angeles Dodgers outfield has more players than spots available. Plenty of attention is given to the foursome of Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, however there’s also Scott Van Slyke, who may not be on the same level as the aforementioned group, but is a capable spot starter nonetheless.
Last season, injuries resulted in the surplus of outfielders becoming a necessity rather than a headache caused by a logjam. Though there is still plenty of baseball left to be played, the Dodgers may not need all five outfielders. For ESPN’s Jim Bowden, there’s one action that needs to be taken:
The time has come for the Dodgers to trade one of their outfielders.
To this point, manager Don Mattingly has consistently platooned and tinkered with his outfielders, which he recently admitted was causing some stress.
According to Bowden, the Dodgers plan moving forward should include parting ways with their left-handed outfielders, moving Kemp to left field and calling up a highly-touted prospect who has been waiting in the wings:
The Dodgers’ long-term blueprint for their outfield should be Puig in right field, Pederson in center field and Kemp in left field. All three are All-Star-caliber and complete players in their 20s. Crawford and Ethier, meanwhile, are both 32.
Bowden goes on to acknowledge both Crawford and Ethier bring different skill sets, both of which carry value, but he ultimately believes one of the two should be traded now and the other in the off-season. If the Dodgers are to only trade one outfielder, Bowden believes it should be Ethier:
It’s not an easy decision, but if I had to trade one, I’d look to move Ethier because I think the lineup is more lethal with the speed of Dee Gordon and Crawford at the top followed by Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Kemp and Puig.
In theory, the proposition of moving either Crawford or Ethier makes sense for the Dodgers both financially and for the future. However, along with both being on the wrong side of 30, they also have a considerable amount of money remaining on their respective contracts. Not only would the Dodgers need to find a team willing to take on an older outfielder, but they would likely have to pay a percentage of the remaining salary. Such a requirement isn’t foreign in trades of aging players signed to large contracts and under Guggenheim’s ownership, it may not be an issue.
Despite off-season rumors that Kemp was on the trading block, the Dodgers have seemed reluctant to part ways with any of their outfielders. Bowden presents general manager Ned Colletti with an argument that merits consideration. Whether or not something along these lines comes to fruition is another story.
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There is something to be said for making such a trade, particularly when talented young Dodger outfielders like Joc Pederson and Scot Van Slyke are waiting in the wings. However, for the moment, Crawford and Ethier, who have value, are realistically only a good fit only for THE DODGERS. This is primarily because the Dodgers are 100% committed to their hefty contracts, which have not been commensurate to the level of the productivity from Crawford or Ethier. As a result, neither of them is an instant good fit for another team, especially when both players are aging and marginally effective.
Due to these concerns, there is, to borrow a phrase from economics, a (non-intended pun) “trade-deficit” accruing to any transactions that include Crawford or Ethier. As such, neither player is going to appear attractive in a trade unless the Dodgers are willing to give substantially more than they receive. This could include throwing in an additional player, or draft pick, or absorbing portions of either player’s salary, or various combinations of these options.
It could happen that Colletti finds some GM willing to do a deal, but the likelihood that the Dodgers get equal value in any potential transaction involving either Crawford or Ethier doesn’t appear favorable. The same could be said if we were to discuss Kemp in a similar trade scenario. The only outfielders who come across as being affordable cherries would seem to be Pederson, Van Slyke and, of course, Puig. The Dodgers may opt to look at proposals for any or all of these players but need to proceed very cautiously if offers are made with Puig in the mix. That I even needed to add the last thought is testimony to the level of my confidence in Colletti.
I might suggest Ethier because he is more of a batter as long as the ball is low and inside. Crawford has very good potential; when he is hot, he is hot. Van Slyke is too inconsistent. It could be a toss between Ethier and Van Slyke.