|Scott Van Slyke and Andre Ethier - Two Dodger outfielders that could be moved in the coming weeks. (photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)|
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Now as the Dust Settles, More Outfielder(s) Will Have to Be Moved
In this topsy turvy world of following the Dodgers, it's almost as if we are watching a soap opera with the dynamic turns of events. Kemp is gone, then maybe not. Then the teams are working out another package due to his arthritic hips. Oops! No, the original deal is back on again. This is crazy.
Rather than update things, I'm finding that it is simply best to wait until the teams make the formal announcements of the trades, which should be happening as soon as Friday.
What we know is this:
Sources from the L.A. Times, ESPN, and MLB network are saying that Kemp and Fedex are now Padres and Grandal and Weiland are now Dodgers.
This means that Rollins will be a Dodger and Eflin will be a Phillie.
There are more names probably, but as I said, it'll be best to wait until the dust clears and the announcements are made.
What continues to be unsettled is the glut of Dodger outfielders that remain on the roster. They include Chris Heisey, Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Scott Pederson, and Yasiel Puig. Watch for two of those six to be moved before spring training. The organization's willingness to part with players owed huge sums of money leads many to believe that a player like Andre Ether could be on his way out with the Dodgers paying the majority of the $73.5 million he is owed over the next four years.
It is probably safe to say that the Dodgers would have to agree to pick up about $45 to 50 million of that contract, as Ethier's depleting numbers make him a hard sell. An American League team with a short right field porch might be an attractive landing spot for him. Perhaps New York or Texas could be a fit, but it would be shocking to see the Dodgers obtain anything of value in return.
Carl Crawford is owed $62.2 million through 2017 and he's another practically immovable piece that probably remains in blue due to that contract. Perhaps that's good though, as Crawford appears to be one of the lone Dodger pieces remaining that has speed. He swept 23 bags in only 105 games last year, and it is expected that he, along with 36 year old Jimmy Rollins, will be the only real stolen base threats on the club now that Dee Gordon is a Marlin.
So that leaves Van Slyke, Pederson, Puig and Heisey. Of the quartet, I'm thinking that Van Slyke may be the player that is moved. That's unfortunate, as Scott has shown signs of brilliance and has never been given a full time shot. Unfortunately, the numbers game has caught up to him. Heisey was acquired because of his versatile defense and pinch hitting skills. Pederson is the new centerfielder and Puig continues to be, in my opinion, a player with the ability to be the next Roberto Clemente.
A good match for Van Slyke may be in the A.L. East where he could be seen as a valuable asset to face Wade Miley in Boston. His stat line of .444, 8 for 18, with 5 homers, should be of interest to Baltimore, Toronto or New York. It's rather silly to use that small sample size against a lone pitcher as a selling point, but ownage is ownage, and Scott certainly has it against the new Boston starter.
Van Slyke was solid in his 98 games last season, hitting .297 with a .387 OBP and .524 slugging percentage. He smacked 11 homers over 212 at bats and showed that he could handle all three outfield slots and an additional first base assignment. This is a valuable player to have on a ball club, and added to that his salary comes in at the major league minimum. Scott will be 28 years old this season, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him really emerge this season. I hate to see him go, as he could be the one guy that someone could really steal from the Dodgers this off-season.
Sabermetrically speaking, Van Slyke is the type of player that guys like Friedman and Zaidi like to acquire. There's simply no room for him, unless the Dodgers magically are able to rid themselves of both Ethier and Crawford. That Looks unlikely, but perhaps the new front office, affectionately monikered the "geek squad," has something up their sleeves.