Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
As mentioned in the introduction, this Dodgers trade conversation will continue to start with the plethora of outfielders trying to elbow their way into everyday action. Of the four, there is one who is unequivocally untouchable and we all know who it is.
So let's break down the three remaining outfielders, who all happen to be injury-prone, on the downside of their primes, and they're owed more money combined than you or I could ever dream of:
Matt Kemp, CF (age 29)
Kemp is just two seasons removed from a season in which many believe he was robbed of the National League MVP award after posting a .324/39/126 line with 40 steals. Since then he's battled constant injury problems and a long road back to full health, where he appears to be now.
With ankle, hamstring and shoulder problems behind him, Kemp has been slow to get all the way back into the swing of things in 2014. Despite a .221 batting average in 20 games, he is slugging .500 and has an OPS over .800 and has shown flashes of getting his power back.
Despite a lot of off season chatter, I don't think the Dodgers ever seriously considered trading Kemp. He's still fairly young and was arguably the best player in the National League when fully healthy. If he continues to progress in 2014 and gets back to a .300/20/80 level (or close to it), the Dodgers won't even entertain the idea.
Andre Ethier, LF (age 32)
Ethier and Crawford share a massive, inexplicable hole for former All-Stars: The inability to hit left-handed pitching. Ethier is the worst offender, hitting .233 with a measly .292 on-base percentage in over 1,200 career plate appearances against southpaws.
It's been so bad recently, as Ethier starts to age and his all-around skills start to decline, that both he and Crawford are commonly benched against lefty starters in favor of righty Scott Van Slyke. And at this point in his career, Ethier will need to put together a prolonged hot streak to have any worth as a trade chip to the Dodgers.
That said, the Dodgers would probably most like to move Ethier if they had to trade an outfielder. Even though he can play all three positions decently, the bat just isn't consistent anymore and neither is his "clutch gene," if you will, that made him so popular with Dodgers fans earlier in his career.
Carl Crawford, LF (age 32)
Crawford's saving grace is that he still has a little quickness in those old legs and can own the leadoff spot if necessary. Personally, I don't like him leading off, but he can still leg out a base hit, get himself into scoring position, or lay down a bunt.
But, like Ethier, Crawford suffers from a bout of lefty-itis, hitting just .258 with a .304 on-base percentage in nearly 2,000 career plate appearances against them. And for a guy who used to regularly swipe 50 bags a season, Crawford's awful strikeout-to-walk rate and career .331 on-base percentage isn't exactly appealing to prospective trade partners.
As he also continues to exit his prime, Crawford becomes less and less valuable. But with top prospect Joc Pederson tearing up Triple-A and nothing but a swallowing of pride required for the Dodgers to eat Crawford's contract, it would not be surprising to see him (or Ethier) sent to the first team to show interest, even for a paltry return.