In one of his most recent pieces, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe stated that the National League West champion Los Angeles Dodgers will likely make either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier available during the offseason.
Kemp, who will not play again for the Dodgers this season, narrowly missed out on winning the 2011 National League MVP award to the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun, hitting .324 with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs. Since then, however, he has battled injuries, leading many in the game to question his durability. Despite this, Cafardo believes that this won’t stop teams from taking a chance on his talent.
The Dodgers are going to make Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp or both available this offseason. Kemp, however, has become labeled with an injury, much like Troy Tulowitzki and Jacoby Ellsbury. But it won’t stop a team from taking a chance on his talent.
Ethier, who sat out the Dodgers’ Game 2 loss in St. Louis due to left ankle soreness that followed in the wake of Game One’s 13-inning marathon, could also prove to be an attractive option for teams searching for a power bat in the outfield heading into next season.
The Dodgers’ outfielder, who is under team control through 2017 thanks to a 6-year, $95 million deal, hit 12 home runs and drove in 52 runs for Los Angeles this season, coming in with a .272 average and .360 on-base percentage in 142 games.
The ankle injury shouldn’t be an issue heading into 2014, but the very player-friendly contract could deter interested teams from Ethier, given his best season was 2009 when he just .272 with 31 home runs and 106 RBIs. That comes out to between $15-$18 million per year through the end of the deal; which is a large amount of money for a guy who has hit 30 home runs or driven in 100 runs in any given season just once in his career.
The Dodgers have their backs against the wall heading back home for Game 3, but with the emergence of Yasiel Puig and the contract of Carl Crawford, something has to give this offseason. There’s a good chance this postseason could be an audition for other teams for Ethier, while Matt Kemp may have worn Dodger blue for the last time in his career.