Los Angeles Dodgers: 5 Players Who Could Be Traded This Winter
The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most famed franchises in all of sports, which makes the current state of the organization all the more embarrassing.
Stuck in financial limbo and in the midst of a disappointing 2011 season, it is very possible that we will see a few of the Dodgers' bigger names wearing new uniforms before next season begins.
That is the cold, hard and sad truth of the Frank McCourt-owned franchise.
Here are five players who could be traded this winter.
James Loney, First Base
James Loney has one more year of arbitration before heading to free agency in 2013, so any value he may have in a trade would be maximized if the acquiring team were to get a full season.
Loney has been quite the disappointment since taking over at first base full time to start the 2008 season. He hit 15 home runs in only 96 games during the 2007 season but has yet to reach that mark over 162 games.
While his OPS-plus sits at 107 for his career, Loney has never experienced that breakout campaign the Dodgers so long had hoped for. He's still a capable first baseman with the potential to hit for both power and average, yet it is anyone's guess as to whether he'll ever put it all together over a full season.
Ted Lilly, Starting Pitcher
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt clearly wasn't thinking when agreeing to give Ted Lilly a three-year, $29.5 million deal prior to the 2011 season. While it's true that you have to pay for pitching, giving that kind of money to a 35-year-old Lilly is a very questionable move.
There is no way any team would take on the entirety of Lilly's deal, so whether or not he gets moved depends on how bad the team's financial standing really is. If they can find a team to take on even half of the hurler's deal, it may be wise for the Dodgers to pull the trigger.
Chad Billingsley, Starting Pitcher
Chad Billingsley has continued to take steps back after rebounding during the 2010 season. He now sits with a 4.30 ERA and an ERA-plus of just 85.
Billingsley has three years and $32 million left on his deal, along with a $14 million team option for 2015.
At only 27 years old, Billingsley would surely be much easier to move than Ted Lilly, and they'd be able to find a team to take on his entire contract.
With a top-heavy free-agent class of starting pitchers, the Dodgers should be able to find good value for Billingsley whether they move him for financial reasons or because they've decided to give up on him.
Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp, Outfield
I've always believed that either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier would no longer be wearing Dodger blue by the start of the 2012 season. Before this season, I would have guessed Matt Kemp was the more likely of the two to be moved.
With an MVP-type performance put on display by Kemp this season, the tables may have turned on Ethier in Los Angeles.
Kemp has finally lived up to the five-tool billing he was given while working his way through the Dodgers' organization, although fans had only seen it in glimpses over the last five years.
Both players have one more year of arbitration eligibility before hitting the open market in 2013, and although GM Ned Colletti may want to lock up both to long-term deals, that notion seems very unrealistic considering the state of the club's finances.
There is a good chance one of the two will be shipped away this winter, but which one it will be is dependent on various reasons the organization will have to consider this winter.
My guess is that the team will choose to build their lineup around Kemp, but in this business you just never know.
Jeffrey Beckmann is a MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow Jeffrey on his new Twitter account for all of his latest work. You can also hear him each Friday at 1 p.m. EST on B/R Baseball Roundtable.