There are three pros (why the trade will/should happen) and three cons (why the trade won’t/shouldn’t happen). But we’ll start with the pros.
1.) The Dodger’s Financial State.
By now everyone is at least somewhat aware of the Dodger’s current finical state. And Yesterday, a judge rejected owner, Frank McCourt’s financial plan. This means that now, McCourt will have to receive a loan from MLB.
Like said in the previous story, with McCourt barely meeting his recent payrolls, the Dodger’s might try to dump as much salary as possible. Ethier is the third highest paid player on the Dodgers and is due about $3,166,667 for the rest of the season. Ethier’s two-year, $15.25 million dollar contract is up after this year. However, he would stay under team control for one more season.
The Dodgers are trying to lock up their two young stars in Ethier and Matt Kemp, whose contract at the end of this season, but will remain under team control for one more year. Yet, since the Dodgers don’t exactly have cash to spare, they may only be able to sign one player, if any. The Dodger’s need to realize that Ethier and Kemp will be long gone and need to trade them ASAP so they can get a few prospects.
2.) Dustin Pedroia
It doesn’t hurt when the guy who is campaigning for you is probably the most vocal guy on the team. Like mention in the photo caption above, Ethier and Pedroia (as well as Ian Kinsler), played college ball together at Arizona State University and are best friends. And it isn’t like Theo Epstein doesn’t listen to who his players want to play with.
3.) J.D. Drew
He’s thirty-five years old, hitting .129 in his last ten games, and lost his starting job to twenty-four year old kid. Sorry J.D., but your time is up. As for Josh Reddick, can you honestly expect him to keep hitting .356 in September? He’s just a kid and can’t be trusted when it matters most.
Who do you want to have up with two outs and the bases loaded? A player hitting .219 who needs to call it quits, an untested kid, or arguably the clutchest player in baseball in Ethier. In 2009, had six walk off hits (four of them where home runs), the most in the majors since 1974. Subsequently, he won the MLB Clutch Performer of the Year award and won a Silver Slugger.
Now, on to the cons.
1.) The Dodger’s Future
Next year, the Dodgers could have a new owner who has enough money to sign Ethier long term. While Ethier’s return value will decrease if he is traded in the offseason or at next year’s trading deadline, is it a risk worth taking? I mean is getting Felix Doubront (the Red Sox’s number two prospect) and not Anthony Ranaudo (Boston’s number one prospect) that bad? If I were general manager, Ned Colletti, I’d hold on to Ethier until January and if McCourt was still the owner, then trade Ethier. One thing to think about though, is that after the World Series is over, a lockout will occur.
2.) The Prospects
We saw Ryan Kalish blossom last year and if it wasn’t for shoulder and neck injuries, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had been called up before Josh Reddick. Boston has two future stars in Kalish and Reddick and Boston may end up having a position battle in spring training next year. Or have them share time in the outfield. Their last option would be to trade one, because they only really need one of them. And when you have two future stars in right-field do you need a right-fielder who is already a star? No.
3.) Josh Reddick
Simply put the kid is on fire! He has four home runs, eighteen RBI, three triples, slugging .622, and has an average of .356, in just ninety at-bats. When you stretch those numbers out over the amount of at-bats Ethier has, Reddick’s numbers would be superior to Ethier’s and look like this . . .
Would I like Ethier on the Red Sox? Sure, but with Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish waiting in the wings, this deal isn’t necessary.
According to ESPN Boston.com, “Boston Red Sox more likely to make small deadline deal than blockbuster.” Shortstop, right field, and a lefty reliever are all desires. A starting pitcher though, is a necessity. Even when Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester come back, either Tim Wakefield, Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Miller, or Kyle Weiland will still be in the rotation. Wakefield has a WHIP of 1.33, Aceves is more valuable in the bullpen, Miller is averaging a walk every 0.71 innings, and Weiland is just a rookie.
Kuroda on the other hand, has a record of 6-11 (which isn’t his fault as the Dodgers have averaged just 2.18 runs per game in his starts), an ERA of 3.13, a WHIP of 1.20, averages a walk every 0.25 innings, and made his professional debut in 1997 as a member of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan’s Central League. Kuroda has been pitching in MLB with the Dodgers since 2008. Kuroda like Jose Reyes and Ryan Ludwick has an expiring contract and is due about $4 million for the rest of the season.
One thing to take into consideration is that Kuroda has a complete no-trade clause in his contract. However, according to reports, Dodger management has contacted Kuroda about waiving his no-trade clause. Yet, Kuroda hasn’t given the Dodgers a list of teams that he’ll accept a trade to and each day it starts to look less and less likely that Kuroda will waive his no-trade clause. One last thing to note on his no-trade clause is, that there is a rumor the Kuroda won’t accept a trade to an east coast team.
Kuroda has mixed postseason numbers. In 2008, he went 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings. Yet, in 2009 in a start against the Phillies, he gave up six hits and six earned runs in just 1.1 innings pitched. Despite his horrible start back in 2009, there is no reason that Kuroda shouldn’t be able to pitch in the 2011 postseason like he did in the 2008 one.
With the Dodgers’ current financial state (for starters, Manny Ramirez, Juan Pierre, and Andruw Jones are owed a combined $15,033,333 at the season’s start), they might try to trade every player they can in order to dump salary, as owner Frank McCourt has barely met payroll according to reports. Kuroda is the second highest paid player on the Dodgers behind Rafael Furcal, the only players in eight figures.
Depending on the availability of Ubaldo Jimenez, Kuroda is probably the best starting pitcher on the market. Kuroda is also one of the most likely players to be traded to the Red Sox. The Indians, Tigers, and Yankees are also looking at Kuroda just to name a few teams.