To be honest, I've always kinda had a thing for Andre Ethier. His name is really evocative. I mean, it just sounds like the name of a superstar athlete. Andre Ethier. Julian Hightower. Bo Champion. Those kinda names look really good on a baseball card. Or the plaque of a statue. Or the nameplate of a transgalactic astronaut.
I guess his problem is that he's not really as good as his name would suggest. That's why the Dodgers are probably fed up with him and are probably willing to unload him for pennies on the dollar. Well, maybe "fed up" is the wrong way to phrase it. But they have a large crew of outfielders (including Chris Heisey!) who are better, less expensive, more expensive, less moveable in trade, or all of the above. Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Scott Van Slyke, and Joc Peterson are all seemingly above Ethier on the depth chart. And I'd say the odds are between "Eh, that ain't happenin'" and "What? They did what?" that Ethier starts for them next season like he likes. So he's going to be traded.
And that's where our Reds can help. The Reds need an outfielder and the Dodgers need to get rid of one. Quid quo professional baseball, y'all.
Here's the pros. Ethier is hella healthy. Usually. Since his rookie year in '06, he has never played in fewer than 130 games. And he only played in 130 last season largely because the Dodgers have eight other outfielders. Healthy outfielders are a big deal, right Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce?
Ethier is also hella consistent. He posted a wRC+ between 120 and 134 every year from '08 to '13. That's the kind of production that lands a fella an $18 mil a year contract.
He is (apparently) hella available. He is discontent in LA as a role player and the Dodgers seem perfectly willing to oblige.
Now, the cons. He is really expensive. He is owed $56 mil over the next three seasons. The Reds certainly cannot afford that price tag, so the Dodgers will have to scarf serious salary salads to make anything work.
He kinda fell off a cliff last season. Maybe you can blame it on his inconsistent playing time and such, but his GB% went up, his K rate went up, his BB rate went down, his ISO went down, and his BABIP pretty much stayed flat. He'll turn 33 at the beginning of next season so maybe he's just finished as a good baseball player.
He has always made his bones by crushing right-handed pitching, but he didn't even do that last year. His OPS was just .710 against righties, and the Dodgers even did their damnedest to protect him from lefties (he only saw 51 PAs all year against them).
But I dunno. Maybe his dramatic decline in production was mostly due to distractions and such. Maybe the Dodgers are willing to unload him on any team willing to take him on. Maybe they'll pay $40 mil to the taking team just to make it happen. Maybe a move to GABP and the NL Central will help his SLG% get back to respectable levels. Maybe what the Reds need is a solid OF who can get on base a little and not a right-handed bat who can hit .280.
I'm kind of interested in finding out.