Posted by : Adrian Garcia Saturday, November 23, 2013
Ethier And His Balding Head Fretting About His FutureSome news came out yesterday that included Chris Young going to the Mets, but still in the market for a power bat. So of course, they are a potential suitor for a trade involving very handsomely paid Andre Ethier. It sure looks like with the Jose Dariel Abreu signing, they are done with their big spending offseason. Regardless, we've already covered how mediocre the prospect package they can offer are.
"Take a look at the top prospects in the White Sox system, and you see a lot of "meh" fits. Courtney Hawkins headlines a White Sox system, Hawkins is an OF, something the Dodgers have a pressing need for.... The next best prospect doesn't even crack the top 100 list, and is Erik Johnson. Another "mid-rotation starter". Not that there's anything wrong with that, but again, the Dodgers have a ton of MRS guys, Zach Lee, Stripling, Reed, Magill just to name a few. Their 3rd best prospect is interesting, and was a high school SS by the name of Tim Anderson. However a 2013 1st rounder who would headline a deal for Matt Kemp?"
Also the Cubs could be a suitor, but they seem at least 2-3 years before they put together a championship caliber team and splurge financially on players like Ethier.
So for this exercise i'll remove both of those clubs and add in the Red Sox, after all they did just inquire about Matt Kemp, to which I say
But you can have an Andre Ethier, Cherington!
So I'm going to analyze a potential trade for the Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers, Mets, and Mariners. In that order, because after the big trade the Rangers still have interest in a bat, the Tigers are tired of Austin Jackson, and the amount of interest the Mets and Mariners have had in OF's, they seem like a natural partner for a trade.
5. Detroit Tigers- Even though one would think a guy slashing .278/.344/.416 would have his job locked down, not so apparently. Turns out horrific postseasons (.214/.298/.238) can impact your future. Weird. So with Ethier's newfound defense capability in CF, it looks like he's a pretty decent option. So what could the Dodgers expect in return? I would demand 24 year old right hander Rick Porcello. He's up for arbitration this year and the Tigers need as much salary relief as possible to keep Miggy and Scherzer long term. Now why on earth would the Dodgers want a mediocre pitcher with a 4.51 career ERA in 5 seasons? Well because he came up when he was 20 years old (!!!!). He's barely 24 and not even close to his prime yet. Steamer projects him for a 3.2 WAR season, a 3.85 ERA in 30 starts. I really like him because of his upside, he came out of the minor leagues as a future ace, and was clearly rushed, and for him to put up a 4.51 ERA while being "overwhelmed" is pretty impressive. He is a groundball pitcher who's swinging strike % has been on a steady uptick ever since 2010, which shows in his suddenly pretty good 7.22 K/9. He doesn't walk guys, 2.30 BB/9, so how is he not an ace? His home run counts. Now he's probably not very good at preventing home runs, but there is no question playing in the AL contributes to that. We love to say how great Prince Fielder is going to be in Texas, but Comerica is very comparable to Arlington, both are hitters havens, so if you put Porcello in a Marine Layer and a home run suppressing ball park, you'd see a very quality arm. I'd love an Ethier for Porcello swap.
4. Red Sox- With the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency, they are going to need a new CF. I'm a firm believer in PASPUTA (Prospects Are Still Prospects Until They Aren't) and you're not going to convince me that Jackie Bradley Jr. in his age 23 season is going to be better than Andre Ethier. So they are a decent fit. Now for the prospect side of things, what could they offer the Dodgers? The Red Sox farm system is ranked #1 by Baseball America so there is a ton of talent to go around. You can forget any pipe dream of Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley in Dodger uniforms unless you're willing to give up Clayton Kershaw or Yasiel Puig. However if the Red Sox would give the Dodgers a "pick one" situation where they eat a ton of money off of the deal and they pick one of Henry Owens, LHP who ranked the 94th best prospect in all of baseball, or Garin Cecchini who slashed .296/.420/.404 in the Eastern League, or possibly even Will Middlebrooks which honestly is the least attractive of the bunch due to his horrendous plate discipline as his K% stands at 25.5% career wise, but has tremendous power. Any one of those three guys for Ethier seems like a decent trade.
3. Rangers- They are ranked lower on this list than on the Matt Kemp list probably because they just pulled off the biggest trade of the offseason, and while they would like some power, looks like they have enough to survive, but you never know with Jon Daniels. So what would the Rangers be willing to offer? Ethier isn't likely good enough to be worth either one of their super middle infield prospects in 19 year old second base prospect, Rougned Odor, or Luis Sardinas while only one year older than Odor, is the 84th best prospect in baseball. Both will likely be ranked far higher when MLB.com does their offseason prospect rankings. So you can forget the possibility of an Alex Gonzalez (RHP) trade, after all he was the 2013 1st rounder for the Rangers. Also Jorge Alfaro (C) is probably the most valuable commodity in that system because he's a catcher. Would you rather eat a ton of money and take a chance on Joey Gallo and his 37.0 K% (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) even though he has legitimate 80 tool power? Or insist on Luke Jackson who has probably the highest ceiling of any Texas Ranger pitching prospect (that alone makes it an unlikely trade)? The Rangers farm system is so deep even without Profar, that there doesn't seem to be a natural fit, but a high ceiling arm unless you want to take a chance on teenager Ronald Guzman who's ceiling is reportedly "Adrian Gonzalez".
2. The New York Mets- They would be number one in this list if it weren't for their frugal owners. So very much like the Kemp article, I'd insist on Rafael Montero who "has a potentially plus changeup, a mid 90's fastball, and a great slider." If the Mets like Montero too much, then a Michael Fulmer and a Jayce Boyd would suffice as well, the Dodgers get a projectable RHP and 1b depth for the minors.
1. Seattle Mariners- This is probably the most obvious one, the Mariners. Similar caveats apply with the Kemp article, no Hultzen or Walker, or Peterson (2013 1st rounder). Nick Franklin is way too valuable for Ethier right now. So you're reduced to a trade for flamethrowing LHP James Paxton who has some issues finding the strike zone (4.0 BB/9 in the minors) but the Mariners finally get that young (relative to Raul Ibanez) OF who has 20 home run upside. A Paxton for Ethier (and something like 9 million dollars) would make a ton of sense. But there is another option we've covered, and one that I absolutely love. Which is the Ethier, Stripling, Matt Magill, money for Hishashi Iwakuma deal that would work for both sides. Going back to that, I'd love to substitute Stripling for Reed, but either one would work.
What do I think happens? It's really up in the air. I have no idea. Given the lack of trade buzz for any Dodger OF not name Kemp, they may just go into Spring Training with 4 OF's and allow the market to form, and some desperate team to overpay. But what will more than likely happen is after Carlos Beltran sets the market for guys like Ethier, we will hear talk pick up. And from then, it's anyone's guess!