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Which outfielder should Dodgers trade?

11/25/2013

Everyone expects the Dodgers to trade an outfielder this winter. Most likely Andre Ethier. Maybe Matt Kemp. Probably not Carl Crawford since nobody really wants Carl Crawford. And definitely not Yasiel Puig, because he's Yasiel Puig. With highly regarded prospect Joc Pederson, who hit .278/.381/.497 with 31 steals at Double-A, soon ready for the majors, the Dodgers will have five outfielders and you can't play them all at once.

Mike Petriello of FanGraphs examines the six options the Dodgers have -- trading one of the five or trading none of them. The most interesting scenario involves Kemp, who has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons following his MVP-caliber 2011:

When Kemp’s 8/$160m extension was announced in the wake of his 2011 MVP quality season, it seemed like a good deal as others like Prince Fielder & Joey Votto were getting north of $200m. Since, he’s played only 179 games in two seasons amid a never-ending litany of injuries to his shoulder, hamstrings, and ankle. After a brutal start to 2013, Kemp did hit .333/.400/.630 from July 1 on… except that he did it in only 60 plate appearances interrupted by two different injuries.

The good news is that Kemp is only headed into his age-29 season, and while a .290/.352/.482 line in 2012-13 is less than you’d expect from him, it’s hardly been a Josh Hamilton-level disaster. Still, it’s that sweet spot between “too talented to dump” and “too expensive to get much return on” that makes him tough to move, unless the Dodgers ate an obscene amount of money or did so in exchange for another big contract, like an Elvis Andrus.

The Andrus idea is interesting. Andrus is owed at least $124 million through 2022. The Rangers could play Jurickson Profar at shortstop and then pursue Robinson Cano to play second base. A middle of the order with Cano, Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder and a healthy Kemp would be pretty imposing. For the Dodgers, Andrus would allow Hanley Ramirez to move over to third base, and improve the team's defense up the middle but at the risk of moving Ramirez off the position he wants to play.

Anyway, as Mike suggests, trading Kemp is unlikely. He's a fan favorite and there are doubts Ethier can play center field (although it will be interesting to see if Don Mattingly tries Puig out there next season considering Kemp's defensive metrics are poor). Mike also points out that "If you had too many quality outfielders, then the 2013 Dodgers wouldn't have had to give 99 starts to a group of Scott Van Slyke, Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston, Chili Buss, Alex Castellanos, and Elian Herrera, along with five more to Schumaker in the playoffs when neither Ethier or Kemp could answer the bell."

What do you think? How would you solve the Dodgers' outfield logjam? I'll leave Puig out of the poll but give you the five other options.