The Dodgers promoted super-duper prospect Yasiel Puig this week, and all the Cuban defector has done in his first two games is go five-for-eight with two home runs and five RBIs. When Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp come back from the disabled list, they will have one outfielder too many. The odd man out would likely be Andre Ethier, which might pave the way for a trade. Could the Mets be a landing spot?
There is a huge caveat here, and that is Ethier’s salary, which is huge, indeed. His five-year, $85 million contract started this season. The Dodgers are already regretting it, what with Ethier having fallen out of favor with manager Don Mattingly.
Andre Ethier is very good, but he isn’t $17 million per season good. Ethier is having a rough season, batting just .234 with four home runs and 15 RBIs. Ethier is pretty much a 20-homer, 85 RBIs, .285-type hitter. So he’s not a superstar, just a solid piece of the puzzle. Considering Ethier is already 31 years old, he is probably worth around $8 million per season.
Which means the Dodgers would likely have to eat around half of his contract to make him attractive to the Mets. Depending on the caliber of prospect(s) the Dodgers get in return, I could see them doing it.
I would not trade Zack Wheeler for him. I don’t think I would even deal Noah Syndergaard, who has been drawing raves this season. The Mets would have to give the Dodgers players who are just a notch below them, like a Michael Fulmer or a Rafael Montero. Both of those pitchers have a lot of potential, but you have to give quality to get quality. Plus, the Mets have an abundance of young pitching. They can afford to give up some of it to improve the rest of the team.
The Mets would be smart to wait and see if the Rockies might deal Carlos Gonzalez. He is better and younger (27) than Andre Ethier, but there are concerns that Gonzalez is a product of Coors Field. He is in the third year of a seven-year, $80 million contract.
I might give up Syndergaard for Gonzalez, but not Wheeler. If the Mets would not trade Wheeler for Justin Upton, there is no way they would deal him for Gonzalez. The only player for whom I would trade Wheeler is Giancarlo Stanton, but I don’t think he is going anywhere.
The Rockies are in the midst of a playoff race, only 2.5 games out of first place, so they are unlikely to make such a deal if they are still contending. But if they fall by the wayside over the next two months, anything is possible.
In any case, I actually believe Sandy Alderson this time when he said the Mets could be buyers at the trade deadline. I think he realizes he cannot acquire a new outfield in one off season, so it’s time to start adding pieces. It’s been time to start adding pieces for two years now, but that’s besides the point.