The Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfield problems have been clear and prevalent over the past couple years. Rumors are now circulating about the prospect of the Dodgers going after Jacoby Ellsbury, centerfielder for the Boston Red Sox.
DodgersNation.com cites ESPN’s Buster Olney who said the Seattle Mariners are one candidate for the 30-year-old, while scouts around the league have speculated a potential signing with the Dodgers.
The case for bringing Ellsbury to Los Angeles is clearly strong as he had another great year highlighted by a .298 batting average, a .355 on-base percentage, nine home runs, 53 RBI and a MLB-leading 52 stolen bases. The speedster can certainly fly as he was only caught stealing four times in 2013. Ellsbury also brings a solid fielding aspect with his game as he is a finalist for the 2013 AL Center Field Gold Glove Award.
If you asked me if I thought Ellsbury would be a good addition to the Dodgers’ squad in terms of talent, I would answer with a resounding “Yes!” If you then asked me if Ellsbury is a good fit for the Dodgers’ current situation, I would be forced to say “No.”
The term “logjam” is frequently thrown around when talking about the Dodgers’ outfield, and for good reason. With Carl Crawford sitting comfortably in left field and the young, Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig seemingly set in right, the Dodgers still have two all-star quality outfielders in Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier on the roster. Further, young Joc Pederson is climbing the ladder of the Dodgers’ farm system and the organization’s number one prospect is due to make his debut in the majors any day now. If Pederson pans out, and he certainly looks like he will, Ellsbury could be an afterthought.
The Dodgers could trade either Kemp or Ethier and might even due well to do so. Kemp is an MVP-caliber player, but he might be all too reminiscent of Ken Griffey Jr. in terms of his ability to stay healthy. Ethier is a solid player as well, but he is signed to a big contract and could stand to be passed on to another team. Nevertheless, bringing Ellsbury into the logjam is not a great idea.
The Dodgers would do best to keep faith in what they have and stick with either both Kemp or Ethier, or trade Ethier and hold on to Kemp. Ellsbury would clearly be a benefit to the team, but the Boys in Blue do not need to waste their resources to go get the free agent when they already have a solid group of outfielders who just need to get healthy and stay healthy.