June 8, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier (16) reacts after being called out on strikes in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers: Yasiel Puig's Performance Could Force Trade of Andre Ethier

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If Andre Ethier received a dollar for every time he has been mentioned in trade rumors over his career, he would be making a lot more than the five-year, $85 million contract that he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

However, with the amazing play of Yasiel Puig taking the league by storm, this may be the final straw towards a trade.

Ethier’s stats are way down this season, hitting just .232 with four home runs. He was recently benched by manager Don Mattingly, who was not happy with his outfielder’s lack of toughness and competitiveness.

His benching has opened the door for Puig, the Cuban sensation who has already hit four home runs in five games (one was a grand slam), as well as made several unbelievable defensive plays.

Bottom line: the 22-year old Puig is a star in the making, if not already, so the rumors are swirling once again around Ethier.

Quoting a rival GM, CBSSports’ Jon Heyman points out that if the Dodgers want to trade Ethier, they will have to eat half of his contract.

Mike Axica, also of CBSSports, named five teams that could be interested in a deal: the Mariners, Rangers, Red Sox, Royals and Yankees.

Will the Dodgers trade Ethier and give up more than $40 million for nothing?

It’s a hard decision, but if Puig keeps this up, and Ethier keeps struggling, they may be pushed into finally pulling the trigger.

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Tags: Andre Ethier Los Angeles Dodgers MLB Trade Rumors Yasiel Puig

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