Now that the season is over for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team will likely look into trading one of their four outfielders as there doesn’t seem to be room on their roster for Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp. If Ethier is the player the Dodgers look to shop first, the New York Mets could be the most likely destination.
There have been rumors linking the Mets to Ethier for the past couple of seasons, and since Ethier is now expendable and fits one of the Mets’ top needs this offseason, now could be the time that he comes to New York. The Mets may look at the free agent market first when it comes to outfielders, as Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz and Marlon Byrd could all be possibilities; but if they resort to a trade to bring in an outfielder, Ethier would be a likely target.
It’s likely that the Mets and Dodgers will discuss Ethier, but whether they come to a deal is another story. His contract is substantial, with four years remaining at a total cost of $69 million. His salary for the 2014 season alone would put a significant dent in the money the Mets have coming off their payroll this offseason, which could limit the team’s ability to make significant free agent acquisitions.
Considering that Ethier’s contract will take him up to age 35, the Mets need to be weary about taking on such a large sum of money for a veteran player, although his numbers don’t indicate that he’s started to decline just yet.
Considering the Dodger’s financial position, they should be willing to take on a substantial amount of Ethier’s contract. In turn, the Mets would have to surrender a more valuable prospect than if they were willing to take on Ethier’s entire contract.
Of course, the Dodgers would have leverage in the sense that they don’t have to trade Ethier; they could choose to trade Kemp or even Crawford (probably not Puig), which would cause Ethier’s price to rise perhaps to a level that’s higher than what the Mets are willing to pay.
On the surface, Ethier being traded to the Mets seems like a distinct possibility, but it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. The Dodgers have some leverage in the situation and the price the Mets would have to pay to get Ethier might not be worth it. They may be better off exhausting all of their options on the free agent market before pursuing a trade for an outfielder like Ethier.