The Los Angeles Dodgers are a franchise that is no stranger to spending big money and attracting the biggest and best players, but sometimes you can have too many. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out; there are three outfield positions, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have four outfielders – Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford – all of whom expect to start. Currently, the injured Matt Kemp is set to miss out on an opening day spot. However, he stated, “I’m no fourth outfielder.” So what will the Dodgers do?
The obvious move is to trade one of their outfielders. For me, that has to be Carl Crawford. With Yasiel Puig set to hit leadoff and with Crawford’s numbers diminishing, he has the least to offer. Having said that, they can’t shift Crawford until Kemp returns to full fitness, and if they do shift Crawford, they are left with only Scott Van Slyke as an extra outfielder.
Once more, it’s no secret — having only four outfielders, including the injury-prone Ethier and Kemp and a player like Van Slyke who isn’t good enough to play everyday, isn’t exactly an option for a team whom want to win the World Series.Trading Crawford is easier said than done. He is a veteran left fielder who will expect to start, and has over $80 million left on his contract for four years of service.
Another big area of concern for the Dodgers is their infield. They have untested rookie Alexander Guerrero and Juan Uribe penciled in to be starting, with only Justin Sellers and Dee Gordon as back-ups. Thus they need to gain an infielder and an outfielder in a trade.
So who is willing to take on Crawford’s $80 million contract and give away an infielder and outfielder?
Well, how about this for a package? The Dodgers wait until Kemp returns to full fitness and they can move Carl Crawford and still have a star-studded outfield ready to play the next day. By then it will also be clear which starting pitcher is a surplus to their requirements (probably Chad Billingsley) and prepare to move him too. With a package like that, the Dodgers could receive a rather impressive infielder and outfielder, which is exactly what they need. But the problem still isn’t solved, for even once the Dodgers sort out the package they want to shop around finding a suitor will be very difficult.
Here’s what I think they should do instead. They send two packages to two teams. For example, they could send some pitching to Baltimore and receive one of their many outfielders for Los Angeles to use as a bench player. Then they send Carl Crawford to whichever team wants him in exchange for some prospects.
This move gives them payroll flexibility, enabling them to move for free agent Stephen Drew — a perfect deal for the Dodgers. As Kemp returns to fitness, and as the Dodgers approach their opening series in Australia, we shall soon see what they are going to do about their outfield situation.