Los Angeles Dodgers Mailbag

In a continuing effort to interact with fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers I decided to answer some questions from twitter followers. This will be the first of what I hope are many Dodgers Mailbag posts as we cover the team here at Valley Bay News. Thank you for the questions and be sure to tell your friends and twitter friends about me and Valley Bay News so that you can help us grow the site.

 Here goes nothing…..

 

@KinggReyes — If the Dodgers do in fact trade Andre Ethier, how much value will they get in return and would the Dodgers pay most of his contract?

Trading Ethier would be a tough sell for the organization to make to an opposing club…..or would it? Everybody seems to be on the side that says the remaining money owed to Ethier is a huge issue for his production. I don’t really know that it is a big hurdle to get over for some teams that have needs.

If there is a team that needs a lefty corner outfielder, it’s not out of the question for the Dodgers to get a prospect or two in return. The quality and quantity of the prospects would depend on how much the Dodgers are willing to pay of the remaining $71.5 million he is owed after 2013. I think it’s more than reasonable if the Dodgers were to offer somewhere between 3 and 5 million per year of salary relief in the deal.

Ethier is largely seen as down in value since he is allergic to left-handed pitching. A career .237 hitter against lefties, Ethier is only hitting .235 (less than .220 a week ago) in 2013. He is paid like a lefty who can hit lefties and he simply hasn’t shown it. The way he has made up for it in the past is to hit righties really well but the .267 Ethier is hitting this year against right-handers is well below his .308 career mark.

With the emergence of Yasiel Puig, there is no spot for Ethier which gives the Dodgers less leverage in trade talks because it would seem like they have no choice but to move him or keep him as the league’s most expensive platoon player. So to answer the question directly, there is little trade value out there other than a low level prospect or two to take a chance on and the team won’t have to pay most of his contract. A third of the contract per year should be more than enough to suffice a trade partner.

Here is a list of potential suitors:

The Seattle Mariners had interest in him before the season began but a deal was not close. With the $8.5 million per year owed to Chone Figgins coming off the books after this year and only paying Jason Bay $1 million they can certainly afford him. Especially since they have no outfielders under contract after 2013 except for Michael Saunders who will be in his first year being arbitration eligible.

The Texas Rangers are a favorite for fans to talk about because of the Rangers second base depth. Jurickson Profar looks to be the future of the organization and Ian Kinsler is expensive. Over the next four years the Rangers owe Kinsler $57 milion which isn’t too far off from a straight up deal making sense for both sides. The problem with this scenario is that Kinsler is way more valuable at second than Ethier is in the outfield.

The one that seems like the best fit would be the New York Mets. With hardly any money committed to 2014 and beyond, Ethier would be a nice fit for that lineup. The Mets could get Ethier for practically nothing if they take on most of the salary obligations.

@patfarley0 — (1) When Matt Kemp returns, why not let him bat second until he shows some power again? Focus on getting on-base, and use his speed. (2) Which, if any, relievers might the Dodgers go after mid-season or bring up from the minors to help their struggling bullpen?

If you believe in the thought process that says the hitter behind you protects you in the lineup and gives you more fastballs to hit if that hitter is good…this isn’t a bad idea. However, I’m not so sure that hitting him second would get him going more so than hitting anywhere else in the lineup. I’m a big fan of consistency so if Kemp is to be the guy in the middle of the lineup, keep him there. At this point in the season every win counts if they’re to come back and have any shot of a playoff spot and moving your star (as bad as he has been) around in the lineup is not a recipe for success.

So officially I don’t hate the idea, in fact I suggested the Angels do it with Josh Hamilton, but I just don’t like it for Kemp.

As far as bullpen help goes, I don’t know what the Dodgers can really do to get a good arm from another team other than trading either Zach Lee or Joc Pederson. The market for relievers is not deep so getting one of the two best out there in Jesse Crain or even Jonathan Papelbon is a long shot. That’s assuming Papelbon is even available since there is mixed reports coming out of Philadelphia.

Other than bringing back Chris Withrow, I would love to see Jose Dominguez get a shot. Dominguez, who will be 23 in August, has done very well between AA Chattanooga and AAA Albuquerque with a combined 2-0 record with a 1.85 ERA and a 38/13 K/BB ratio. In seven games with the AAA Isotopes, Dominguez has not given up a run.

@culverfan — Come July, what can the Dodgers offer from the minors besides Lee or Pederson that others want?

Of course this answer depends on what the trade partner would be looking for. I know that Dee Gordon has really taken a fall from grace with the team and the fan base but that doesn’t mean somebody wouldn’t want him. Gordon is currently hitting .288 in AAA with 22 SB which isn’t terrible and he just turned 25. A team might be willing to take a chance that he can hit big league pitching and calm down on defense.

Ross Stripling is another name to consider a trade piece. He has been good at not only Class-A Rancho Cucamonga (2-0, 2.94) but also after being called up to AA Chattanooga (4-1, 2.79) for a combined 6-1, 2.85 ERA with a 77/17 K/BB ratio.

Yimi Garcia has been pretty good for AA with a 2-3, 2.75 ERA and 47/6 K/BB.

One semi-interesting prospect is O’Koyea Dickson who is currently with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Dickson has hit 39 homers and 136 RBI in his first 228 professional games which is good but the jury is still out if he will hit for average. He is definitely worth a look though.