Excess Dodger Holiday Shopping Guide
Super year-end inventory reduction sale! (maybe)


The Dodgers might have the priciest outfield in the game (I didn't actually research it), but their come-from-behind division title was mostly fueled by the cheapest member -- Yasiel Puig, who wasn't even on the Opening Day roster.

As a result, there is widespread expectation that one of the incumbents will be offloaded.

So ... pull up a chair [as Vin Scully would still say] and let's see what's up here.


  Age 2013 OPS+ 2013 wOBA 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Carl Crawford 32 108 0.322 $20.25M $20.5M $20.75M $21M FA    
Andre Ethier 32 122 0.340 $15.5M $18M $18M $17.5M $17.5M* FA  
Matt Kemp 29 105 0.316 $21.0M $21.0M $21.5M $21.5M $21.5M $21.5M FA
Yusiel Puig 24 160 0.398 $3.71M $6.21M $7.21M $8.21M $9.21M Arb-1  

*Vesting option with $2.5M buyout

Considering no designated hitter, and Adrian Gonzolez and his $21M/year through 2018 deal set at first base, then obviously something's gotta give.  Putting $20M players on the bench is not generally going to work.

Of course, the Mariners need outfielders and offense and have money to spend, so there's at least the potential for bandying-about.  And what's the point of blogs if not for bandying-about?

Matt Kemp

Of course, it was Kemp's injury-riddled year that opened the door for Puig.  Of course, it was also Kemp who slugged .586 in 2011 as MVP runner-up.

All of Kemp's stats were way down in 2013, indicating he was a shadow of his true self.  Most telling is his ISO of .125, 76 points below his career average.  Suddenly, he had warning-track power, with a HR/FB of 5.6% when his career rate had been well over 10%.

Nobody will want to write $20M checks to 2013-version Kemp, and, yes, that's six more years of checks that the Dodgers are obligated to write.

But it was just 2011that he was putting up Hall of Famer kind of mashing: 39 HR, 126 RBI, 76 XBH, 74 walks.

So Kemp is the biggest commitment (even assuming the Dodgers eat a sizable chunk) with probably the biggest downside (injury-riddled and ineffective), while also having the biggest potential impact if he comes back healthy and productive.

That makes him one heck of a casino bet.

Is Jack Z the type to ask his bosses to slide that many chips onto the gaming table?

Andre Ethier

If Kemp is the roller-coaster ride, Ethier is the high-performance car that just purrs down the highway.

He had two seasons of unfortunate HR/FB (2013 and 2011) that pulled down his ISO.  He also had two seasons of good fortune (2010 and 2009) that made him look like more of a power hitter than he is.  Smooth that out and his career line of .288/.362/.470 is very much the hitter he is.  30+ doubles, 60-ish walks, and should get HR in the vacinity of the teens.

Given that, I don't see any reason why he wouldn't churn out four or five more of those seasons.

So Ethier has a lower commitment and lower risk; presumably, then, it will take more prospect cost to acquire him and the Dodgers will be less inclined to eat dollars.

Is it worth it for a guy doesn't really have MVP upside?  He seems like more of a Paul O'Neill type.  A very good complementary player for a championship team.  But those guys are good to have around.

Carl Crawford

If Ichiro were built like an NFL cornerback, maybe you'd get Crawford.

You don't see a lot of guys with both very low strikeout rates and very low walk rates.  To make that work, you need the speed (and the head start from left-handedness) to put up a consistently above-average BABIP (Crawford .328 career; Ichiro .344).  And you end up with the kind-of-odd high-average but not-so-high OBP (OBP-BA [isolated patience]: Crawford .040, Ichiro .042).

Of course, Crawford doesn't get as many hits as Ichiro-prime, but obviously he's also got more power (Crawford .147 ISO, 8.0 XBH%; Ichiro .096 ISO, 5.6 XBH%). 

Like Kemp, Crawford has had his injuries and roller-coaster seasons, and he hasn't sniffed 50 steals since 2010.

He's a good player, but he seems like the least likely to be worth $20M, even if he is healthy and has all cylinders firing.

Then again, since he probably has the least upside, the Dodgers might be most willing to give ground on dollars and prospect return.



tjm's picture

I wouldn't take Crawford if they paid ALL his salary. I'm in on Ethier if LA goes half. Kemp has by far the biggest upside offensively, plus runs circles around Ethier in the field. He's the only one I'd really want and would be willing to take two-thirds of his salary on the bet that he comes back big.
My guess, though, is that with all the injuries last year, the Dodgers might not be so eager to pay to get rid of one of these guys. They might need em.

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