It has been over two weeks since the Dodgers have made a trade, so it's only natural that the hot stove is aching to simmer again in January. The latest name to come up in rumors is outfielder Andre Ethier, about whom the Dodgers have engaged in trade talks with the Orioles, per a report from Roch Kubatko of MASN and confirmed by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
It's not so much that any deal is imminent. Roch reports that the Orioles are also interested in free agent outfielders Colby Rasmus and Norichika Aoki, and Kubatko himself opined of Ethier to Baltimore, "I just don't see it happening."
At issue of course is the $56 million guaranteed to Ethier over the next three years, including the $2.5 million buyout of his 2018 club option. Having already dealt Matt Kemp, the Dodgers don't necessarily need to move another outfielder.
"Now, we're just open-minded to different scenarios that makes us a better team, whether it's an outfielder or someone else," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in December. "We're now in a mode of being opportunistic, continuing to target guys we like and we feel like fit us. What that means and how that plays out, we don't know right now."
The other variable in this equation is just how highly the Dodgers value Joc Pederson. If they feel he is ready right now to take over in center field, Ethier is essentially a sunk cost, and getting out from under any amount of his contract would be a win, no matter the return they receive.
But that is a big assumption.
There is also the issue of Ethier, who willingly sat on the bench for the final two months of the season, stating his desire to start in 2015. Keeping Ethier around as an insurance policy for Pederson could be wise, but the benefit of that is weighed against the cost of potentially having an unhappy camper in the clubhouse should Ethier eventually find himself again on the bench.
This is just a long way of getting to a question for the community. Do you think Ethier will still be a Dodger on opening day 2015?
If I'm a betting men, I think Ethier gets traded before April 5. What do you think?