Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig. Four players who could start in the outfield for any team, but only three possible outfield positions available for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Heading into the playoffs, it is good to have an abundant amount of players who can help your team, but someone is going to complain over playing time at some point. There is also the issue of having to pay all four players starter money, since that is what they deserve. The Dodgers are going to have to eventually trade one of these players, but which one should be traded? Crawford is under contract until 2017 for the sum of $142 million, Ethier is under contract until 2017 for the sum of $85 million, Kemp is under contract until 2019 for the sum of $160 million, and Puig is under contract until 2018 for the sum of $42 million.
The common consensus option is to trade either Crawford or Ethier, because Puig is the rookie sensation and Kemp is still young enough to become a future stud for the Dodgers, but let’s look at it from another perspective. Out of all four of these players, Puig is the only one who is guaranteed to not get traded. Crawford bounced back nicely from Tommy John surgery to have a solid year for the Dodgers, and Ethier has the ability to play good ball, while being able to play all three outfield positions. That leaves Kemp as the odd man out. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Kemp is an amazing talent, and as long as he can stay healthy, he can be one of the best centerfielders; that’s the key, however, staying healthy. Kemp bounced back and forth from the field to the disabled list this year, and he is not worth the $160 million that he is being paid if he continues doing that.
If the Dodgers sell high on Kemp now, while he is still young enough to perform at a high level, not only could they save money in the long run, but they could help build up what is already a very strong minor league system. Having an outfield of Crawford, Ethier and Puig, while having Scott Van Slyke or even the highly touted Joc Pederson as a fourth outfielder, is still a very strong and deep outfield position. Honestly, whatever the Dodgers decide to do with their outfield position can only benefit the team, but trading Kemp should not be ignored as a possibility.