According to several reports, the Los Angeles Dodgers are expressing interest in trading Andre Ethier, less than four months after signing the right fielder to a five year contract extension worth $85 million. The deal, which was seen as something of an overpay at the time, was made to look worse as the year progressed and Ethier’s struggles against left-handed pitching became more pronounced.

Typically, when a team signs a player ahead of free agency, as the Dodgers did with Ethier, the club receives a discount for taking on the risk that something will happen to nullify some value between when the contract was signed and when the player’s free agent eligibility was to begin. It’s difficult to imagine that this is what happened for Los Angeles, given the relative strength of the outfield free agent market this offseason, and where Ethier ranks.

In other words, why would a team be willing to give up assets this off season for Ethier and what will likely be a burdensome contract, when they could sign a player like Nick Swisher to a similar deal without giving up additional assets to acquire him?

The answer is that they wouldn’t.

If the Dodgers truly hope to acquire anything at all for Ethier and pursue some of the free agent outfielders available like Josh Hamilton or retain the services of Shane Victorino, the team will have to be willing to eat some of the $85 million owed to the left-handed hitter over the next five seasons. The only team I could think of that would be willing to take on such a contract in a trade would be the team that’s currently shopping him around.

Comments (6)

  1. Just to let you know Parkes since you are fairly new to this Giants fandom thing, articles about the Dodgers must be written full of hate. They are your enemy and must be treated as such.

  2. It was. MLBTR suggested it was believed ethier would get more on the open market than the $85 mill he got. He was projected to get werth type money as one of the better available RFs. I haven’t found anything really suggesting it was an overpay:

    “So, as much as everyone might appreciate either absolute praise or entire condemnation, this, like most deals is justifiable, if not fair.”

    Some team with an of need maybe prefers ethier if swisher gets too costly.

    • Ethier was never projected to get Werth money. Please show me any valid analysis that suggests that. Also, I disagree with MLBTR that it was widely thought he’d get more on the FA market. The most pro-Dodgers analysis suggested it was fair.

  3. Hard to see a deal where the Dodgers would eat the like $25 million or so it would take to make him palatable to most other teams.

    As a Jays fan I like his OBP and power and I think his weak defense could be mitigated by playing LF next to a CF with good range (Hi Colby!) but he’s absolutely not worth $85/5yr, especially when you’d have to give him days off against the tough lefties in the AL East.

    I also don’t see a trade fit really. I know the are rumoured to need a SS, but… Why fill one hole on the Jays roster only to create another.

    If the Dodgers are serious I’m sure they’ll find some sucker after Josh Hamilton is off the market.

  4. Using my supreme googling abilities here is a nice summation of reactions

    It may be an overpay for stat analysis but very few FA signings are not drastic overpays. If ethier is a FAnow, he gets more than the contract he has. I think more teams would feel comfortable with it than you may think.

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