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Ethier’s potential trade is the most talked-about, and for good reason. With Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp’s recent returns from the disabled list and the emergence of Yasiel Puig, the team has four outfielders for three spots. And with the amount of money still owed to Crawford and Kemp, and the fact that GM Ned Colletti would be run out of Los Angeles if he dealt Puig, Ethier is the logical odd man out.
However, Ethier himself signed a five-year, $85 million extension last season, and the deal is backloaded: It escalates for each of the next four years, meaning the outfielder is still owed about $69 million after this season ends. This amount of money will make any team reluctant to take him on, especially given his struggles this year (.724 OPS).
In addition, Kemp just went back on the DL after coming out of a recent game against the Giants with an apparent shoulder injury—the same shoulder he had surgery on in the offseason. If he is out of commission for more than three weeks, July 31 will come and go—with Ethier likely manning center field every day.
The injury also makes it more difficult for the Dodgers to go forward with just three outfielders, because whether or not Kemp can be counted on at all this season is a legitimate question.