The Los Angeles Dodgers are winners for the 2011 season, regardless of a record that will finish around .500.
They have a pitcher who is a lock for the Cy Young in Clayton Kershaw and a player to build their team around in Matt Kemp, who is still in the hunt for the Triple Crown as the season reaches its final week. Kemp may even manage to win the NL MVP award depending on how voters feel about him playing for a .500 ballclub.
When it's all said and done, everyone knows the Dodgers squad that takes the field on Opening Day in 2012 will look much different from the team that finished this season.
It's clear at this point that Matt Kemp is the player they will choose to build around, especially seeing as Andre Ethier may be reluctant to sign in LA long-term anyway.
There is a very good chance Ethier will be gone before Christmas. Here are three potential suitors who may steal him away.
Andre Ethier has long been believed to want to join his best buddy, Dustin Pedroia, with the Boston Red Sox. While the Sox would surely have interest in signing Ethier when he hits free agency after next season, they may be reluctant to part with what the Dodgers would ask for in a trade this winter.
On the bright side, J.D. Drew and his five-year, $70 million deal will finally come off the books, so they will definitely have some wiggle room for a big acquisition. If one thing's for sure, you can never have too much offense in the AL East.
With Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury a part of the long-term plan in Boston, the Sox would likely have to part with Josh Reddick in a potential trade. They'd also have to give up a pitcher, and Felix Doubront's name comes to mind.
The only way the Seattle Mariners will be able to compete in the AL West is if they acquire a veteran bat to build their lineup around. Andre Ethier would fit in perfectly.
The Mariners already have the pitching to compete, led by Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda, but they've scored the fewest runs in all of baseball and nearly 300 runs less than the division-leading Texas Rangers.
The Dodgers would have plenty to choose from in the Mariners' top-heavy system, with pitchers James Paxton, Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen coming to mind. You never know—maybe they could even pry away second baseman Dustin Ackley as well.
The Washington Nationals will soon be ready to compete in the NL East, and Andre Ethier could be the last piece to the puzzle in building their potential dynasty.
The Nats have shown they are willing to make big moves to bring big names to D.C., and they definitely have the prospects the Dodgers would want in return for Ethier.
Between Dominican pitcher Marcos Frias and power-hitting catching prospect Derek Norris, the Dodgers could come out as winners if they made a trade with the Nats.
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.