"It will be a little sticky, honestly," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "Only three spots and four guys. ... It's going to be difficult. ... Once everybody gets here, everybody is going to have to give in a little," Mattingly said optimistically.
As such, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe recently reported that interested teams are starting to contact the Dodgers about what it would take to acquire Ethier in trade.
In a June video for FOXSports.com, Ken Rosenthal said the Mets would make sense as a landing spot for Ethier, because the Dodgers are likely willing to pick up some of the money left on his deal, and the Mets will shed significant money from their payroll next winter.
The next week, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman said rival executives think the Dodgers will need to pay at least half of Ethier’s contract, or take back an equally bad contract, if they want to find a trade for their outfielder.
Ethier is in the second year of a five-year, $85 million extension, which includes a $17.5 million vesting option for 2018 (with a $2.5 million buyout).
In late May, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney listed the Mets among seven teams that would be a potential suitor for Ethier, in the event the Dodgers look to move him this summer.
I had been writing in June that, from what I could gather, Sandy Alderson wanted to acquire a lead-off hitting center fielder and a power bat during the next six months. It's looking like maybe Eric Young Jr. could be that lead-off hitter. The power bat will be more complicated, since it's going to have to come by trade, and that type of hitter (who is also young and under contract) doesn't typically get moved in season. It's usually an off-season type of transaction. So, while a guy like Ethier could be a solid gamble for the Mets, assuming Los Angeles will pick part of the tab, I'm not totally sure how he fits in at this point, especially since he struggles so much against left-handed hitting. Nevertheless, it's a natural fit on paper, so I expect to keep hearing his name come up in trade rumors.
Ethier's contract is a burden. He's owed $69 million between 2014 and 2017, and he has an option worth $17.5 million that vests with either 550 plate appearances in 2017 or a combined 1,100 plate appearances between 2016 and 2017. In other words, he's expensive. That being said, I've always liked Ethier and I think he would benefit from a change of scenery. He's always been a good, consistent bat in the Dodgers' lineup and he could play Gold Glove defense. However, it will all be about the package the Dodgers expect in return. While I'd rather have Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez, if Sandy Alderson can get Ethier for a lesser package it's a move he has to think about. The bottom line is the Mets need to make a serious move for real talent, one that does not involve the likes of Colin Cowgill or Josh Satin.