As it currently stands, the Los Angeles Dodgers will once again begin Spring Training with a surplus of outfielders. The depth created for some headaches related to playing time in 2014, but was beneficial last season as Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig missed significant time due to injury.
This offseason, Crawford, Andre Ethier, Alex Guerrero and Puig have been mentioned in trade rumors. It was reported on Thursday the Dodgers were floating Guerrero’s name in trade talks.
Ethier reportedly garnered interest from multiple teams, including the Chicago White Sox. However, it was later said the White Sox contacted the Dodgers on Puig, and it was then that Los Angeles attempted to shift the focus to Crawford and Ethier.
Ethier will reach 10 years of Major-League service time, including the last five with the Dodgers on April 21, and thus earn the right to refuse any trade as a 10-and-5 player.
He will turn 34 years old on April 11, and is owed $18 million this season and $17.5 million in 2017. His contract includes a $17.5 million vesting option in 2018 with a $2.5 million buyout. The option vests if Ethier totals 550 plate appearances in 2017 or 1,100 plate appearances combined in 2016-17.
Within the Dodgers’ depth in the outfield, Guerrero is who presents the biggest challenge. He’s also who the Dodgers are most likely to trade, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
Alex Guerrero, not Ethier, is the player the Dodgers are most likely to move before spring training.
One clause in Guerrero’s contract prevents him from being optioned to the Minors without granting his consent. Another permits him to opt out after the season concludes in which he was traded.
Moreover, Guerrero is without a natural position — he is serviceable at third base and left field — assuming he’s also swinging a hot bat. Considering Guerrero is best suited as a designated hitter, it limits the number of teams the Dodgers can pursue a trade with.
The Cuban native batted .423/.429/.1.077 with five home runs and 13 RBIs over 28 plate appearances in 13 games during the first month of the 2015 season. He finished the year batting .233/.261/.434 with 11 home runs, 36 RBIs, a .297 wOBA and 89 wRC+.
Guerrero was mentioned as a trade candidate prior to the deadline last July. At the time, it was reported he may be willing to waive the opt-out clause in his contract if he was financially incentivized and sent to a team that could provide more playing time.
Including Guerrero and super utility man Kiké Hernandez, the Dodgers have eight outfielders on the 40-man roster.