Andre Ethier accepted a reduced role with the Dodgers this year without making much of a fuss, but the 32-year-old former All-Star told Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times that he wants to start again in 2015 even if that requires being traded to another team:
Whether to play here every day or play somewhere else. … I’d rather play every day and help this team win–or whatever team it is–to the best of my ability. I feel I can, if given a role. As I stand here today, I’m preparing every day to be a starting outfielder for the Dodgers, until I’m told otherwise. I’m not changing my mind about that. It’s probably going to be a little less wanting to take the same role as I did last year.
Fair enough. On almost any other team Ethier would be a starter, because while his 2014 performance was not good–hitting just .249 with four homers and a .691 OPS in 130 games–his track record is good enough to give him the benefit of the doubt as a productive player in 2015.
However, even if the Dodgers follow through on the rumors about them trading Matt Kemp there still might not be room in their outfield for Ethier with Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford in the corners and top prospect Joc Pederson in center field. Ethier isn’t good enough defensively to reliably play center field and his offense is declining.
Ethier is owed $18 million in 2015, $18 million in 2016, $17.5 million in 2017, and $17.5 million or a $2.5 million buyout for 2018. In other words, if the Dodgers are going to trade him it’ll involve eating a bunch of that money.