The Dodgers are shopping right fielder Andre Ethier, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, and that could mean they’re in the hunt for Nick Swisher to serve as his replacement in right. Normally, this wouldn’t be enough to warrant a post, but Mike Petriello said he heard similar yesterday afternoon, so there appears to be legs to it.
The news marks a surprising turn of events given that Ethier just signed a five-year extension for $85 million six months ago, but nothing regarding this team under the new ownership should be seen as truly surprising anymore.
As far as his value goes, what is it? Not much, really, because with an AAV of $17 million a year, he’s already being paid above market value. However, in a vacuum, Ethier is a solidly above-average player, which would absolutely carry value if his contract was more reasonable. Thus, the assumption here would be that in order to get a return on him, the Dodgers would have to eat a significant portion of his contract, thus making him attractive to a potential suitor.
Swisher ties into this drama because he’s basically the last option left for those that missed out on Josh Hamilton and friends, so it’s no surprise he’s drawing interest from the Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Rangers, and Orioles. However, that interest is probably also why Ethier is on the block, because Ethier is similar to Swisher, except two years younger.
But why would the Dodgers be interested in replacing Ethier with Swisher? I’m not totally sure, because they’re basically the same player except Ethier is younger. Swisher has had a 125 OPS+ the past three years compared to Ethier’s 126, while their defense and baserunning are about pushes. The primarily difference in their lines is that Ethier has a severe platoon split (.913 RHP/.649 LHP), while Swisher doesn’t (.820 RHP/.842 LHP). While that does carry some value, at the end of the day, it’s the player’s total contribution to the team that matters, and they’re about the same in that aspect.
Look, I certainly wasn’t a fan of the extension that Ethier was signed to, but certainly these potential deals couldn’t be in mind with the thought of saving money by signing Swisher and dealing Ethier, at least if the payroll situation is to be believed. As such, they’re about the better player, and from that perspective, I see little value in making this trade unless there’s significant return for Ethier. That, of course, is always a possibility, but I remain skeptical since I certainly wouldn’t do it as an opposing GM.