Yesterday over at TrueBlueLA, SB Nation's Dodgers blog, Phil Gurnee published a lengthy article discussing who the Dodgers should trade and he included an exhaustive team by team breakdown of possible trade targets from each team.
In the comments section, someone opined that the Dodgers should trade outfielder Andre Ethier to the Phillies for Domonic Brown. I commented that I think this would be a good idea, especially if the return is Domonic Brown, as I do not see the Dodgers handing out contracts for Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the next year or so. I mention Kershaw because the way he is pitching, GM Ned Colletti would be silly not to lock him up before he hits his arbitration years.
And, if you have to choose between signing Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier long term, it is a no-brainer. You have to sign Kemp. His next contract will be huge, but I think it would be worth it.
More on the Dodgers trading Andre Ethier after the jump:
So, I have laid out some of my reasons for dealing Ethier, but here are a few more. Ethier is having a good season, but I was surprised when I saw he was one of the players included in the vote for the final spot on the NL All Star roster. I am a Dodgers fan, but in no way do I see Ethier as an All Star this season. Andrew McCutchen should be on the NL team, but that is a topic for another day.
This season, Ethier is hitting .316-.383-.356 with 7 HRs, 42 RBIs and 42 runs scored. His K rate is up to 21.2% from 19.7% in 2010, and his walk rate is down slightly to 9.6% vs. 10.1% last year. What is more striking to me is Ethier's ISO and SLG rates over the past few seasons. Here is a breakdown of his ISO and SLG:
2008- .206 ISO, .510 SLG
2009- .237 ISO, .508 SLG
2010- .201 ISO, .493 SLG
2011- .139 ISO, .456 SLG
It is very obvious that Ethier is not the power hitter he once was, and one wonders if his finger injiury last year has had a lasting effect on his power. Ethier does tend to be a streaky hitter, but it appears to me the power drop is for real.
I think the Dodgers should deal Ethier because they may be a few years away from contending, and they will lose with or without him. Plus, the Dodgers maximize their return by dealing him now rather than in the offseason or next season.
Which teams would having interest in Ethier? The Phillies, as mentioned above. I would love an Ethier fro Domonic Brown deal, but I am not sure the Phillies would do that. But, if they want to win now, and they are built to win now, Ethier would help that lineup. Brown has not been able to fill the loss of Jayson Werth, but Ethier could.
The Reds are another team that would have interest in Ethier and they are packed with major league prospects including catcher Devin Mesoraco, first baseman Yonder Alonso, outfielder Todd Frazier, third baseman Juan Francisco, and pitchers Travis Wood and Homer Bailey. The Dodgers could make a blockbuster deal by packaging Ethier, pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and shortstop Rafael Furcal in return for a package of prospects that included Mesoraco, Alonso and Wood or Bailey.
A deal with the Reds makes the most sense to me, and I wrote about a possible deal involving Hiroki Kuroda going to the Reds in return for Mesoraco over at MLB Daily Dish a few weeks ago here. The Reds need a pitching upgrade, Kuroda fills that need. They also need an upgrade at shortstop because Paul Janish has a good glove, but not much else. They also need a legitimate leadoff hitter, and Furcal fills the need at shortstop and leadoff hitter. And the Reds also need a more consistent bat in the outfield, specifically left field, and Ethier could easily move over to left field for the Reds.
A few other teams who could have interest in Ethier are the Red Sox, White Sox, Tigers, Mariners, Athletics, and Diamondbacks to name a few, but if the Phillies or Reds would come calling, I think they could maximize their return with major league ready prospects or young major league talent right now.