Predicting 3 Trades the Los Angeles Dodgers May Need to Make

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Predicting 3 Trades the Los Angeles Dodgers May Need to Make
USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the 2014 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were primed at nearly every position. The biggest question mark before Opening Day was at second base, but Dee Gordon's early success has soothed fans and coaches alike for the time being.

With big names like Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp patrolling the outfield while established stars Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez round out the infield, the Dodgers don't seem like a team that is in desperate need of a trade any time soon.

However, general manager Ned Colletti may want to consider a few options as the season progresses.

 

Trade for a veteran catcher

Opening Day starting catcher A.J. Ellis played just seven games this season before hitting the shelf with a torn meniscus. 

He was initially expected to miss four to six weeks, but the injury is healing faster than expected.

Still, the Dodgers' current backstops, Tim Federowicz and Drew Butera, have been underwhelming at best. The tandem has a combined for a .106 batting average with one extra-base hit. Neither one of them should be considered a starting catcher for any team, but they have been thrust into the role for the past few weeks as Ellis recovers.

USA TODAY Sports

Federowicz and Butera are also relatively inexperienced players. Even when Ellis returns, Los Angeles may want to acquire a proven veteran backstop to shoulder the rest of the duties behind the plate. This will allow Federowicz and Butera continued development in the minors.

 

Trade for another starting pitcher

Every team can use extra starting pitching, and the Dodgers are no exception.

Most starting rotations are lucky to remain intact more than a few weeks into the season. Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw last pitched a month ago in Australia before a strained muscle in his back sent him to the disabled list.

Mark J. Terrill

Whether it's injuries, performance struggles or a combination of the two, starting pitching insurance is an underrated necessity for every team.

The Dodgers acquired free-agent pitcher Paul Maholm to round out the rotation in the event of an injury like Kershaw's, but the former Atlanta Brave has a 5.60 ERA in three starts.

There have already been over 10 pitchers to go under the knife for Tommy John Surgery since the beginning of spring training, according to Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today Sports. This high number is evidence enough that no matter how deep a rotation seems, depth should never be taken for granted.

Moreover, the recent history of Dodgers' back-end starters Dan Haren and Josh Beckett indicate that they are far from locks to a go a full season without making a trip to the DL.

 

Trade away an outfielder

Ever since the Dodgers called up Yasiel Puig last June, there have been worries about how the team is going to manage four highly paid outfielders with only three outfield spots.

The dilemma never really came into play until the beginning of this season, when Matt Kemp returned from ankle surgery.

Kemp made it clear to ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon that he won't accept a bench role, but the 2011 MVP runner-up has stumbled out of the gates to the tune of a .213 batting average. 

The Dodgers aren't going to trade Puig, so Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier seem to be the likely candidates to get shipped out if the Dodgers' fortunes suddenly turn sour.

Kemp also isn't out of the question, especially after he was mentioned in trade rumors over the winter, per Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.

Harry How/Getty Images

So far this season, manager Don Mattingly has employed a plug-and-play rotation with his four outfielders. Ethier and Crawford typically sit against left-handed pitchers, which makes sense. Ethier owns a career .235 batting average against lefties, while Crawford could use the extra days off due to his recent injury history.

Kemp is also coming off multiple surgeries in the past two years, so Mattingly is giving him more rest than he ever used receive before the 2012 season.

All told, Kemp, Ethier and Crawford are not that far removed from All-Star campaigns, and many teams around the league would surely love to have them. Their big-money contracts, however, are unattractive.

For now, the first-place Dodgers will continue to roll with the matchups. It's difficult to see Los Angeles trading away any of their four outfielders unless the season takes a drastic turn for the worse.

 

All stats courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.

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