Friday, December 21, 2012

Mariners are the Dodgers' best match for a potential Andre Ethier trade

With the Andre Ethier kinda-sorta-but-not-really rumors floating around (depending who you believe), it might be a good time to check out which teams might be interested in him and what the Dodgers could possible look for in return.

First, let's identify the Dodgers' remaining needs.

Third base

I recently wrote a post saying Luis Cruz isn't the answer at third base. He isn't, but there really aren't any great alternatives. Juan Uribe, painfully, has one more year on his contract and might not break camp with the club. The Dodgers would absolutely have to get some sort of third baseman in return for Ethier.

Left-handed reliever

With Scott Elbert coming off elbow surgery and Paco Rodriguez entering his first full season as a professional, the Dodgers could use a veteran lefty out of the bullpen. If it were up to me and Elbert was 100 percent healthy, I'd have no problem with them being the lefties. Methinks Ned Colletti and Don Mattingly would disagree.

Second base

The Dodgers do have Mark Ellis, who is still a plus defender at the position. They also have Skip Schumaker, who isn't. But looking toward 2014, the Dodgers are going to need someone to replace Ellis. Perhaps a prospect who's not quite Major-League ready could be in play.

Fourth outfielder

I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of Schumaker being the fourth outfielder. The Dodgers need a guy who can truly play center field and who is preferably right-handed. The entire Dodger bench is lacking in quality, but they don't have a legitimate fourth outfielder at this moment.

Those are probably the Dodgers' three biggest needs right now. They certainly don't need any starting pitchers, as they're trying to trade one or two. They don't necessarily need another right-handed reliever, but if they get a guy with tons of arm talent, it'd be tough to pass that up.

There are two confirmed teams to have talks with the Dodgers about Ethier -- Seattle and Texas. In this post, I'll take a look at what Seattle has to offer.

The Mariners are trying to give their money away to hitters, yet no one is biting. They were in on Josh Hamilton before he signed with Anaheim and have interest in Nick Swisher, who isn't reciprocating said interest. The offensive-starved team did land Kendrys Morales on Wednesday, but he won't be enough to revitalize their offense.

Seattle has a lot of interesting pieces, some of which might not be available in trade.

The Dodgers would seemingly have interest in guys like Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Nick Franklin and Franklin Gutierrez.

Let's just get this out of the way now: the Mariners aren't trading Ackley to the Dodgers for Ethier. The 2009 No. 2 overall pick had a great debut season in 2011, but had a severe case of the sophomore slump in 2012. Despite the slump, I'd almost swap Ethier straight-up for Ackley.

Seager, the older brother of Corey Seager, was the Mariners' primary third baseman in 2012, playing 138 games at the hot corner. He hit 20 home runs while posting a .259/.316/.423 triple slash. Not bad for a 24-year-old in a difficult place to hit. His splits -- home/road and left/right -- weren't favorable.

Seager did most of his damage on the road (.293/.324/.511, 15 home runs) and against right-handed pitching (.272/.335/.449, 13 home runs) -- the latter of which make him look like a platoon player. Perhaps a platoon of Seager and Cruz at third base wouldn't be the worst thing, but it'd hardly be like having Chase Headley there.

Franklin is one of the Mariners' top position prospects. He's a shortstop and probably profiles better at second base long-term. With Ackley there, the Mariners would need to keep him at shortstop. However, if they acquired a shortstop (Dee Gordon), they could be more inclined to move the 21-year-old. He posted a .278/.347/.453 triple slash between Double- and Triple-A, including a .322/.394/.502 line at Double-A Jackson. I'd like to see him replace Ellis in 2014.

Gutierrez, a former Dodger prospect, is an elite defender in center field. Problem is, he doesn't hit well and has a hard time staying healthy. His not hitting well can be rectified by playing him predominantly against left-handed pitching (career .293/.351/.479 against lefties). Gutierrez is so elite in center (How elite is he?!) he once posted a 6.3 fWAR. It also came du. ring his best offensive season, but it's still impressive. I think he'd be the perfect fourth outfielder for the Dodgers.

My Proposal

To Seattle: Ethier, Gordon, cash (to offset some of Ethier's money)
To L.A.: Seager, Franklin, Gutierrez, Brandon Maurer

Why it works for Seattle: The M's get a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat who can slide into right field. They also get a shortstop who was a Top 30 overall prospect just a couple years ago. Oh, and some green stuff so they're not taking on all of Ethier's $85 million.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers get a starting third baseman, a second baseman of the future, a fourth outfielder and a really good right-handed pitching prospect. The M's would still have a stacked system if they lost a couple guys out of the middle of their Top 10.

The Mariners are also interested in Chris Capuano, who seems to have more trade value after the M's dealt Jason Vargas (who isn't as good) for Morales. If the Dodgers included him, this could be quite the hefty deal.

Having said all this, I'm not sure how realistic my proposal is. The Dodgers would still need a right fielder for the season. With Seager at third base, the right fielder wouldn't have to be someone of great note -- just someone serviceable until Yasiel Puig is (hopefully) ready in 2014.

Photo credit: Cbl62, Wikimedia Commons

37 comments:

  1. keep dreamin kid, ethier isnt worth of all of those guys.

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    1. Not happening. Leaves Seattle with no 3B in the minors or the big leagues.

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    2. I assume Alex Liddi isn't a legitimate option?

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  2. I prefer Ethier and Capuano go to Texas for Elvis Andrus and Mike Olt. This provides the Dodgers with a starting SS able to leadooff and a young starting 3B.

    This would give Texas the big lefty bat they desire and a back of the rotation SP. Texas is already set at 3B and their SS prospect Pro??? is ready to take over for Andrus.

    Corey Seager could be groomed for 2B and replace Luis Cruz at 2b in 2015.

    The sticky part would be asking Ramirez to move to RF. If Ramirez could handle RF it would improve the overall defense immeasurably.

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  3. Any team that trades an All Star Gold Glove outfielder for one prospect needs to fire their GM immediately.

    A prospect, no matter how well they have done in the minors, is nothing more than a maybe at the Major League level.

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  4. I actually posted a trade like this yesterday on a couple of boards. I think it's Either, Gordon, Capuano (Mariners need a new lefty after trading Vargas) cash and mid level prospect for Seager, Gutierrez, and something off the junk pile. But it's a pipe dream, Ned would never trade a vet for prospect

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    1. Why would we trade an All Star Gold Glove outfielder, our best prospect (Gordon) a legitimate #3 ML starter, money, and another prospect for a .727 OPS 3rd baseman and a 4th outfielder?

      You're fired Jason.

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    2. Bryan LaHair was an All Star last year
      Raffy Palmeiro won a Gold Glove one year while being a DH
      Dee Gordon can't walk, has no power, strikes out too much, can't field his position, and doesn't steal bases at a good clip
      Who is the 3rd ML starter you're talking about? Capuno? He's more of a 4th SP

      Seager is just 1 year older than Gordon and his OPS away from one of the worse places to hit (safeco) was a very good .835. He can play a position of need as well.

      Trade Ethier and fill his spot with Nick Swisher. Not much of a downgrade if any

      Fangraphs WAR for Ethier: 3.4
      Fangrpahs WAR for Swisher: 3.9

      But I guess Ethier gets more points for being a Dodger fan favorite...

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    3. cap and dre for prospects!!! what is wrong with u people? cap may be a #4 guy in most ML rotations.... bottom line he's a double digit win ML starting pitcher with a high K count. Dre is not a platoon player u guys are morons!! .290 20hr and 85rbi guy a platoon player? so he struggles .vs lefties but he's one of the best clutch hitters in the game! cap for prospects would work.. keep dre and see how puig develops this yr.. doesnt make sense to trade dre then sign swisher or bourn with kemp and crawford signed long term and puig being groomed. better yet use the surplus of starting pitchers to trade for much needed bullpen arms... just sayin

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    4. Isn't Carl Crawford a lead off hitter? Let Puig be a 4th outfielder. Trade a starter for bullpen help as stated above. Ethier is not a POS! Give him his day off against the tough lefties.

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    5. I'm Bobsince58.....No, he's uncomfortable there and has only a handful of games at leadoff. Puig as a 4th outfielder is a ridiculous idea; he has played only a handful of games in U.S. pro ball. He needs to play every day, starting at AA, in order to develop.

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  5. I agree with the folowing exceptions; Add capuano, subtract gutierrez and add catching prospect mike Zunino. Then go out and get Bourne to bat leadoff for the Dodgers. This is a great trade for the Dodgers and they may have to sweeten it a bit or a lot more.

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    1. Zunino can't be traded yet because he signed his contract less than a year ago. Besides, the Mariners wouldn't move him anyway.

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    2. You are high as a fucking kite if you think the Mariners are going to trade Zunino.

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  6. comes down to money age and control. Either is not a Gold glove outfielder, he doesn't make many mistakes, but he also doesn't have a lot of range. Plus he has a huge platoon split. He is the only moveable piece in an outfield that is getting old fast. Seager is 24, a decent 3rd baseman with pop as good as Either's and doesn't have a bad batting split. Plus Seager's original position is 2b so after this year he can slide over, and his batting stats def hold up for 2b.
    Gutierrez is a great fielding outfielder, and is a better 4th outfielder than Gwynn.
    Gordon while possesing a lot of natural talent, has a bad attitude towards getting better, and is still a year or two away from being a decent major leaguer, when the dodgers are looking to get better now.
    Cappy is not a #3, he clearly petered out at the end of the season, like he does every year, meaning he would be useless by the time the postseason comes around.
    So yes the Dodgers are giving up a bat that is decent this year but has some big ifs and is clearly overpaid, a prospect that the team has soured on, and a #4/5 starter that is about 7th on the starting rotation (behind Kershaw,Greinke,Bills,Ryu,and Beckett,and Lily), and cash (which they seem to have plenty of), for a young controled infielder with a decent bat, a great defensive fourth outfielder who actually has some pinch hitting value, and it opens up a spot in the future for Yasiel Puig!
    The trade isn't just about making the Dodgers better for 2013, but it gives the team a better ability to grow and be flexible for the next 4-5 years and thus it a great move for the organizations future!

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    1. AJ Ellis is a BeastDecember 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      I agree with most of what you said, but do you have any proof that Gordon "has a bad attitude towards getting better"? From the interviews I've heard of him and the reports he had coming up, he was always known for having a great work ethic. It just annoys me when fans think they can read the minds of athletes.

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    2. His continued stance of "i can hit" and refusal to learn patience at the plate. Also there were plenty of reports last spring about how he did not do extra time in Maurey`s pit, even though it was asked of him. Instead he spent the time in the gym trying to bulk up.

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    3. AJ Ellis is a BeastDecember 21, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      OK fair enough. But I'm just saying that the FO seems to have soured on him because of his performance, not his attitude. And his lack of patience irritates me as well, but if you look at his winter league stats (even though he had only like 100 AB's, so take it with a grain of salt) he OBP'd .350 with only a .269 avg, so he seems to be working on it. My opinion is that you trade him only if you get more than fair value, because his value is at a low point. Don't trade him as a throw-in, unless in a deal like Dustin's, Dee's inclusion is the only way you get Seager.

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    4. What natural talent does Gordon possess? He's fast, I'll give you that, but I cant think of any other baseball talent he showed.

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  7. I would love this, but Ethier himself is a platooner. then again, so is everybody else. I'd give offer them Harang just to sweeten the deal(ha) Shame Capuano has to be associated with Harang just because the were aquired round the same time. Id rather Keep Capuano, but if the reject harang and shoot for Cap, I say do it!!!

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    1. Also, I feel like like the Mariners would be on the loosing end anyway, even with whatever non -specified money going their way. So the only way I see the Dodgers getting that haul, is if they pay ALL of Ethiers Salary. And why not? Dodgers are loaded anyway. Yesterday I red the Guggenheim is worth like 125 BILLION DOLLARS!?!?! Honestly, to me, it feels like overkill to trade Ethier for Coreys older brother, but im for it! :D

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    2. I dont think Mariners fans would be happy trading all that young talent for a 30 year old overpaid platoon hitter, so yeah, I think the Dodgers would have to pay all Ethiers Salary.

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  8. If Ethier goes to Seattle and we get anything less than King Felix Ned needs to get fired.

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  9. Ethier and Gordon for Seager, Franklin, Gutierrez and a prospect? I'd do it in a second!

    There are lots of Ethier fans out there in Dodgers land but let's face it: he's overpaid, a platoon player and an average defender in RF despite what an underserved Gold Glove says.

    Seager's numbers away from Safeco look very nice and I really like Franklin as a prospect. Gutierrez can fill the 4th OF void too. I've never been a Gordon fan and we can fill Ethier's spot by signing Swisher to a deal. Ethier and Swish are pretty equal. Ethier's the better hitter and 2 years younger, Swish has a better walk rate and has a bit more pop while not having such a drastic platoon split.

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    1. Go to Youtube and watch his hustle in RF. He is more than adequate. His offensive numbers will go up as well with the new lineup protection.

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  10. You guys have no grasp of reality.

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  11. AJ Ellis is a BeastDecember 21, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Dustin, I think your offer is too skewed towards the Dodgers' favor. On your first post about Ethier on Tuesday, I proposed an almost identical trade to yours, but minus Gordon and substitute Brad Miller for Seager. (Mine was Ethier and cash for Miller/Franklin/Gutierrez/Maurer) However, a Mariners fan thought that was too much, and my proposal didn't even include Seager. I just don't see the Mariners giving away 5 cost-controlled years of Seager. In fact, those splits that you mentioned actually make him more attractive in my opinion. His .835 OPS away from home is a positive, and I would rather have his L/R platoon splits than a .739 OPS split even. If I'm Ned and your deal is offered to me, I take it in a heartbeat. Just some constructive criticism. Thanks.

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    1. I guess I've vastly underrated Seager's value to the Mariners and their fans. With the way they're talking about him, you'd think he was the next coming of Chase Headley (circa 2012).

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    2. AJ Ellis is a BeastDecember 21, 2012 at 7:20 PM

      It's not just the perception of Seager, it's his actual value. Until this exercise, I didn't realize his value either, but he was top 8 in terms of fWAR for all ML 3B last year. His production could increase further with a higher BABIP, an improvement in defense, or general age/adjustments. All prospect status aside, he is the exact same player value-wise as Mike Moustakas, and I'm sure most people agree Moose would command a ransom. Throw in the fact that he's one of the few quality hitters the M's have along with the dearth of quality 3B in the Majors and his 5 more years of cheap team control, and I think Mariner fans certainly have a point. Of course, he was never a big prospect and could still bust, but the Dodgers would be very fortunate to land Seager. I'd be content with Franklin. Just my opinion.

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    3. You make it sound like Ethier for anything less than a young Chase Headley is outrageous. Ethier is 31 years old on a big, long term contract with a skillset that tends to age the worst.

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  12. Ethier Capuano gordon and withrow for seager Gutierrez franklin hultzen and paxton. Maybe withrow to baltimore for hardy so they have a 3B. Mariners become way better and dodgers now have prospects for a july trade for stanton with hultzen paxton lee and Puig in the trade.

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  13. Where are all these Seattle Trolls coming from? Ackley isn't worth trading ANYONE on our current roster, and Seager isn't enough of an upgrade over Cruz to give away anything of value either. Reading these comments makes me lol...hard. We don't need an upgrade at 3B...we've won 90+ game in a season with far worse than Luis Cruz at 3B. It would be a mistake to even entertain the idea of trading 'Dre for anyone on the Seattle roster.

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  14. Seriously, 'Dre's career triple-slash is .290/.362/.476. You Seattle fanboys need to stop the nonsense. Platoon OFer? What a joke. Does the lack of sunlight up there this time of years really have that much of an effect on your common sense? If you think you can do better in the OF than 'Dre right now....have fun with that.

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