For the past year now, the name of Andre Ethier has come up in various trade talk around MLB, and considering the Los Angeles Dodgers' current bankruptcy issues and ownership issues, it's certainly understandable.
In his latest ESPN Insider-only blog, Buster Olney once again broached the subject, this time talking about the New York Yankees' possible interest in Ethier, especially with Nick Swisher facing free agency at the end of the 2012 season.
Ethier, who will be 30 at the beginning of next season, is currently rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee that ended his season on Sept. 6. The knee issues were probably a good reason for Ethier's declining offensive numbers in 2011—just 11 HR and 30 doubles, his lowest numbers since his rookie year.
However, Ethier will be 100 percent healthy come spring training, and a healthy Ethier is certainly a productive Ethier, and there is no doubt teams beyond just the New York Yankees, who would be very interested in Ethier's services.
Here is a list of eight MLB teams who would love to have Ethier in right field.
As Buster Olney said in his ESPN blog, the New York Yankees are looking beyond the 2012 season, when current right fielder Nick Swisher will be a free agent. However, is Andre Ethier actually a better option?
In taking a look at the numbers, Ethier hits for a higher average overall (.291 to .254), while Swisher's power numbers are slightly higher (28 HR, 89 RBI over 162-game season, compared to Ethier's 21 and 85).
Ethier is 15 months younger than Swisher, and his left-hand bat would certainly play well in Yankee Stadium, so his production would seem to be aided by the possible move. However, Ethier would still likely command a hefty contract, especially if he bounces back to his production prior to the 2011 season.
The Boston Red Sox' recent trade with the Oakland A's that sent young right-fielder Josh Reddick with two prospects for closer Andrew Bailey has left a void in the Sox lineup that will likely be filled with a platoon of Darnell McDonald and Ryan Sweeney to start the 2012 season.
Another young and promising player, Ryan Kalish, underwent shoulder surgery for a torn labrum on Nov. 8 and is likely out until at least late May.
No doubt the Red Sox have the means and resources to make a run at Ethier, although his presence in the lineup would give the Sox a lopsided left-handed look. Still, his production would be a welcome presence.
The 2012 season is the final year of right fielder Torii Hunter's contract for the Los Angeles Angels, and there is no doubt that the Angels are looking beyond Hunter.
Ethier in the Angels lineup, along with Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo, certainly presents a formidable presence in the meat of the batting order, and with Hunter's expiring $18 million, the Angels would actually be saving a bit of money in the process.
The Washington Nationals have a major hole to fill in center field, and while previous discussions have centered on the Nats' interest in B.J. Upton and Denard Span, trading for Andre Ethier could be an alternative.
While the Nats are looking for a centerfielder, Jayson Werth could slide over, giving the Nats an outfield of Michael Morse, Werth and Ethier. If Werth can bounce back from a disappointing 2011 season, the Nats would indeed have a very potent outfield.
The Detroit Tigers will likely field an outfield in 2012 consisting of Delmon Young in left, Austin Jackson in center and Brennan Boesch in right.
The Tigers don't appear to be totally sold on Young, and Boesch could easily slide over to left, making room for Andre Ethier in right field.
A lineup featuring a potent lefty-righty combination of Ethier and Miguel Cabrera would certainly provide excitement in Motown.
Pagan’s potential was never realized in New York, and the Giants are hoping that a change of scenery is the best medicine. The acquisition of Melky Cabrera certainly helps, but with a rag-tag group that includes Pagan, Nate Schierholtz, Aubrey Huff and Brandon Belt, manager Bruce Bochy has all but assured that there will be an open competition for all three outfield positions in spring training.
"I don't want to lock anything up right now," Bochy told MLB.com, essentially saying he isn’t confident about the options presented to him.
Adding Ethier in right field would certainly alleviate many of Bochy's concerns.
The Chicago Cubs recently signed former Kansas City Royals/Oakland A's outfielder David DeJesus as their answer in right field, but can he really be the long-term answer?
With a new management team in place and a new philosophy, might Andre Ethier work as a long-term fit in Chicago?
The Atlanta Braves head into the 2012 season with major concerns regarding current right fielder Jason Heyward.
After an excellent rookie campaign, Heyward seemed lost at times during his sophomore season, ending up with a .227 average, 14 HR and 42 RBI, a far cry from his rookie season.
Adding Andre Ethier would provide a welcome spark to the Braves offense, especially with Chipper Jones' declining numbers and expected retirement within the next year or two.
Doug Mead is a featured MLB columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.