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Biggest Issues the Dodgers Must Address at the Trade Deadline

When examining the Los Angeles Dodgers on the surface, it’s difficult to find anything significantly wrong with the team.

Not only do they rank among the top of the league in runs scored and ERA while having committed the sixth-fewest errors, the Dodgers have also maintained control of the National League West for most of the season.

But no team is perfect and with the trade deadline now just a month and a half away, the Dodgers may want to consider two minor issues.


Crowded Outfield

Heading into the season, the Dodgers’ starting outfield consisted of Yasiel Puig in right field, rookie Joc Pederson in center field and veteran Carl Crawford in left field.

The alignment quickly got shuffled when Puig went down with a hamstring injury in mid-April, and Crawford joined him on the shelf shortly thereafter with an oblique tear.

Veteran Andre Ethier, who had been essentially relegated to bench duties ever since Puig arrived in 2013, stepped in and has put together a nice bounce-back season so far. He is slashing .287/.366/.491, and his eight home runs have already doubled his 2014 total.

Manager Don Mattingly has also been trying to mix in the capable bats of outfielders Scott Van Slyke (currently rehabbing a back injury) and Alex Guerrero. With Puig and Crawford missing most of the first two months, the issue basically resolved itself. 

But Puig recently returned to the lineup, solidifying two of the three outfield spots alongside Pederson, an early front-runner for NL Rookie of the Year. The only position left up for grabs is left field, and there will be an obvious dilemma when Crawford and Van Slyke climb back into the fold to compete for playing time with Ethier and Guerrero.

The dilemma will be four outfielders for one spot. Even in a platoon strategy, that’s still two right-handed hitters (Guerrero/Van Slyke) and two lefties (Crawford/Ethier) competing against each other.

While the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman values depth, even he might realize the impending outfield surplus is probably untenable. 

So the questions then become who to trade and for what.


Starting Rotation Depth

If there’s one area in which Los Angeles could use some future help, it’s the back end of the starting rotation.

The Dodgers lost Hyun-jin Ryu and free-agent addition Brandon McCarthy to season-ending injuries, forcing fellow newcomer Brett Anderson to slide from the No. 5 spot in the rotation to No. 3 behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Anderson has been satisfactory, posting a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts. But the southpaw’s lengthy injury history is a constant cause for concern. As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times points out, Anderson’s 12 June innings are more than all of his June innings combined during the past five years.

The stopgap solutions that Mattingly has thrown into the fire—right-handers Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias—have performed admirably considering their lack of experience.

Bolsinger, acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offseason, had thrown just 52 MLB innings prior to 2015. He began the season in Triple-A but has turned in a 4-1 record with a 2.25 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 12 starts for the Dodgers since his promotion.

Frias entered this season even greener, with only 32 innings of prior MLB experience. But he, too, has held his own, compiling a 4-3 record and 3.86 ERA in eight starts.

Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi understand that Anderson’s next injury could be just around the corner. They also know full well that the surprising Bolsinger/Frias tandem might falter as the workload increases.

It’s why the Dodgers should consider adding a more proven arm to stabilize the back end of the rotation in case the aforementioned scenarios manifest themselves.


Trade Logistics

Los Angeles would probably like to trade away an outfielder in order to clear what will soon become a logjam. That’s easier said than done, however.

Although Ethier has re-established his trade value after two seasons with declining playing time and production, he is still owed $35.5 million through 2017—including a $17.5 million club option in 2018. Crawford and the $41.75 million he is due over the next two seasons will be nearly impossible to move, leaving Van Slyke and Guerrero as the two likeliest players to be flipped for some starting pitching.

Guerrero has become somewhat of a secret weapon for the Dodgers, slashing .282/.312/.615 with 10 home runs in limited action. While his statistics are surely attractive to other teams, the clause in his contract stipulating that he may become a free agent at the end of any season in which he is traded may hold up a potential deal.

Van Slyke possesses the cheapest contract of the bunch and is accustomed to coming off the bench. His career OPS of .805 indicates what kind of hitter the 28-year-old can be with regular playing time. Last year, he led Los Angeles in slugging percentage and OPS.

While pitchers on struggling teams like Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija will likely see their names cast into trade winds because of their contracts, the Dodgers might be interested in less-heralded hurlers come next month.

One realistic target could be Scott Kazmir of the Oakland Athletics, someone with whom the Los Angeles front office is quite familiar. Friedman worked with him in Tampa Bay, and Zaidi—formerly part of Billy Beane’s brain trust in Oakland—was instrumental in bringing him to the Bay Area.

The veteran left-hander has pitched well for the cellar-dwelling A’s, posting a 2.79 ERA in 12 starts. On the flip side, Oakland could use a player like Van Slyke to help bolster a regressing offense that currently ranks 17th in OPS. With the ability to play all three outfield positions, Van Slyke would also become an immediate offensive upgrade over current left fielder Sam Fuld.

Los Angeles will almost certainly need to include a collection of additional pitching prospects like Zach Lee, Ross Stripling or Zach Bird to facilitate this deal.

If Oakland wants Ethier—a player the A’s originally drafted—the Dodgers would need to eat a significant portion of his bloated contract, similar to the $32 million chunk they bit off this past offseason in the Matt Kemp trade.


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3 Biggest Takeaways from the First Month of Dodgers Baseball

The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the first month of their 2015 campaign right where they left off last regular season—atop the National League West standings.

It’s been somewhat of an unexpected first few weeks for the Boys in Blue, who were projected to experience a drop-off in power when they traded away Matt Kemp and let Hanley Ramirez walk in free agency.

Instead, Los Angeles leads the NL in home runs and has also received surprising production out of its new-look bullpen—a point of weakness last year.

Here are the three biggest takeaways from the first month of the Dodgers’ season.


Joc Pederson is the Real Deal

When the Dodgers traded away Matt Kemp last winter, it became clear that the organization was fully committed to rookie Joc Pederson becoming a major contributor right away.

So far, that gamble has paid off.

Pederson has already smacked seven home runs through Monday—six more than Kemp—and appears to have solidified himself as the team’s center fielder of the present and future.

Manager Don Mattingly recently moved the 23-year-old to the lead-off spot in the batting order, and the switch produced immediate results. Pederson became the first Dodgers rookie to hit a home run in four straight games (with an at-bat) since Bill Sudakis in 1969, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. One of the home runs was a grand slam, the first for the Dodgers in 286 games, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA.

His 1.043 OPS ranks seventh in the MLB—ahead of names like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton.

“Donnie told me from day one that it’s about putting together quality at-bats,” Pederson said, per Joe Resnick of the Associated Press. “They weren’t worried about the results. They saw what I could do. I still need to continue to put together quality at-bats. We’re only a month into the season. So it’s not how you start, but how you finish.”

Pederson isn’t just getting it done with that bat, either. He has looked comfortable patrolling center field all season, making seamless reads and several diving catches without an error to date.


Bullpen Has Been Better Than Expected

The Dodgers’ Achilles heel from a season ago has quickly become one of their strongest assets so far in 2015.

That’s right. Entering Tuesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles relievers have combined for a 1.90 ERA—fourth-best in the majors.

The Dodgers’ bullpen recently saw its 26-inning scoreless streak snapped earlier this week. But a small blemish hasn’t taken away from the quality relief that this collection of unheralded pitchers has provided in the early going.

There are several new faces waiting for their name to be called this season, many with little MLB experience.

Right-handers Yimi Garcia (0.66 ERA) and Pedro Baez (2.45 ERA) have emerged as trustworthy options despite having combined for just 25 games of major league experience prior to this season.

Paco Rodriguez, a second-round draft pick in 2012, and rookie Adam Liberatore, acquired from Tampa Bay in the offseason, are southpaws who have also turned in nearly spotless relief.

These low-cost success stories represent a refreshing change from the highly paid failures of last season—namely Brian Wilson and Chris Perez.

New President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman has encouraged Mattingly to base pitching changes off matchups rather than innings, according to Mark Saxon of Instead of naming a seventh-inning guy or an eighth-inning guy, the Dodgers simply react to the situations presented in the late innings.

“Everybody (in the bullpen) is ready to go from the fifth inning on,” said veteran reliever J.P. Howell, a lefty specialist with a 1.23 ERA, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News. “No superstar stuff. That’s how I like it.”

This fluid strategy may become slightly more rigid when closer Kenley Jansen returns from a foot injury and picks up sole ninth-inning responsibilities.

Alex Guerrero Needs to Play Everyday

The secret is officially out on Alex Guerrero, as the Dodgers’ bench extraordinaire earned National League Rookie of the Month honors for April.

He batted .423 with a 1.077 slugging percentage and five home runs. But the most notable number was his 26 at-bats. It’s a rather small amount of action for a player who has offered elite production.

The Dodgers signed the Cuban defector to a four-year, $28 million contract following the 2013 season. He spent most of last season in the minor leagues, limited to fewer than 350 total at-bats because of an infamous ear-biting incident. He finished the season batting .329 with 15 home runs at Triple-A.

Guerrero’s barrier to entry remains Juan Uribe, the Dodgers’ Opening Day third baseman. The veteran is in the final year of his contract with the Dodgers, and the team values his defense and leadership in the clubhouse. Uribe is currently slashing .279/.318/.361 with one home run.

Additionally, Los Angeles recently won the bidding war for fellow Cuban defector Hector Olivera, signing him to a six-year, $62.5 million contract, per Jesse Sanchez of Olivera can play third base and second base—Howie Kendrick’s position for at least this season.

The Dodgers have gotten creative in order to insert Guerrero’s bat into the lineup, playing him in left field now that Carl Crawford will be sidelined for the foreseeable future with a tear in his oblique. But this solution isn’t suited for the long term, and Guerrero’s trade value is probably as high as it will be all season—he even admitted so.

“Now it changes for me,” Guerrero said through an interpreter, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Because pitchers are going to adjust the way they’ve been pitching me. They didn’t know me before.”

This has led some to believe that the Dodgers might try trading Guerrero, perhaps for starting rotation depth. Brandon McCarthy will miss the rest of 2015 with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, and Hyun-jin Ryu has yet to take the mound this season because of shoulder inflammation.

However, the hitch in a potential trade is a clause in Guerrero’s contract stipulating that he can become a free agent at the end of any season in which he is dealt. Guerrero is due $4 million this season and $5 million in each of the next two seasons.


All stats courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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Early Grades for the Dodgers’ Offseason Acquisitions

The Los Angeles Dodgers made headlines this offseason with a flurry of personnel moves. Three weeks into the 2015 season, these recent additions have provided varying contributions.

Although the sample size is still relatively small, we’ve decided to hand out an April report card for the newest Boys in Blue.

This evaluation follows the order in which Los Angeles acquired these players during the winter.

All stats courtesy of and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

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An Early Look at the Top 3 Dodgers’ Trade Deadline Chips

The 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers have played fewer than 15 games, but it’s never too early to look ahead toward the trade deadline.

President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and General Manager Farhan Zaidi were not shy about tinkering with the roster during the offseason. So it would not be surprising to see midseason deals unfold as the schedule progresses.

While the team currently appears to be set at most positions, there are a few players who might represent intriguing trade chips come July or sooner.


Zach Lee

Zach Lee entered last season as the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, but his stock tumbled due to struggles at Triple-A.

He began 2015 ranked No. 6, behind pitchers Julio Urias and Grant Holmes, according to the team’s website.

Lee’s name has been tossed around the organization ever since Los Angeles pried him away from Louisiana State University with a record signing bonus after the team drafted him 28th overall in 2010.

Despite the lucrative signing bonus, Lee has failed to make a significant impression during his first four years in the minors (32-35 combined record with an ERA hovering around 4).

The Dodgers are now understandably more excited about Urias, a recent Texas League Player of the Week, and Holmes, their first-round pick in last year’s draft.

Lee, who projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, is off to a 2-0 start at Triple-A this season. He has struck out 13 in 12 innings while walking just two—a past bugaboo.

If Lee can continue to maintain these kinds of ratios, he would certainly be a candidate to include in a future trade. Teams usually want prospects at the trade deadline, and there doesn’t seem to be a spot for Lee at the major-league level.

The emergence of Urias and Holmes will potentially make it easier for the team to part ways with Lee.


Andre Ethier

For the second straight season, veteran outfielder Andre Ethier and his $18 million salary will spend most nights watching the action from the bench.

Rookie Joc Pederson beat out Ethier, 33, for the starting center field job. When healthy, Yasiel Puig is firmly entrenched in right field, while Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke are the two primary options in left field.

Nick Cafardo recently gave his thoughts on the situation in an update for The Boston Globe:

Not sure how a $16 million-a-year player can be sitting on the bench for the first three games of the season, but that’s what happened to Ethier. The Dodgers are all ears about a deal, offering help on the remaining $57 million of Ethier’s contract, but no bites. And it’s always tough to deal a guy who isn’t playing regularly.

It’s true. The Dodgers offered to eat half of Ethier’s bloated paycheck in an effort to move the career .285 hitter, according to Jon Heyman of

Although Ethier has received more playing time than usual in the early going as Puig nurses a hamstring injury, he still remains a fringe contributor in Los Angeles. His .259 average in 11 games does not inspire much confidence, but it at least showcases his abilities as an everyday player to potential suitors.

The Dodgers almost sent Ethier to the Arizona Diamondbacks over the winter, but the deal fell through at the last minute, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Ethier is in the third season of a five-year, $85-million contract extension.


Alex Guerrero

Another member of the team seeking more playing time is Alex Guerrero.

The Dodgers signed the Cuban defector to a four-year, $28-million contract following the 2013 season. He spent most of last season in the minor leagues, and was limited to fewer than 350 total at-bats—in large part because of a dugout fight in which teammate Miguel Olivo bit off his ear. He finished the season batting .329 with 15 home runs at Triple-A.

Entering 2015 without a position, Guerrero made the Opening Day roster as a backup third baseman. A stipulation in his contract allowed him to refuse another demotion to the minors, and so far Guerrero has justified his presence on the roster. He is 5-for-14 with two home runs and eight RBI on the young season.

The Dodgers’ starting third baseman is Juan Uribe, however, who is finishing the final year of his contract. The veteran led all National League third basemen with at least 850 innings in defensive runs saved last season and Los Angeles values his leadership as well. Guerrero is still learning how to play the position, and has been relegated to pinch-hitting duties when Uribe is healthy.

What’s more, the Dodgers recently won the bidding war for fellow Cuban defector Hector Olivera, signing him to a six-year, $62.5-million contract, per Jesse Sanchez of Olivera appears to be the heir apparent at the hot corner.

With backup infielder Justin Turner also in the picture, Guerrero may be expendable. Much like Ethier, the Dodgers could focus on showcasing Guerrero’s talents in an attempt to boost his trade value.

The potential is clearly there, but the playing time is not. If manager Don Mattingly sprinkles in more starting opportunities for Guerrero, the 28-year-old might accumulate the stats necessary to warrant league-wide attention in advance of the trade deadline.

“The team does not know what they are going to do, but all I can control is keep working hard and they will get the final word,” Guerrero said, per Sanchez.


All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise linked/noted.

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3 Biggest Takeaways for the Los Angeles Dodgers Following MLB Opening Week

The Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up Week 1 of the 2015 season with mixed results, splitting six games against fellow National League West opponents.

It was a roller-coaster ride of emotions, with several exciting moments peppered with the sobering reminders that some old wounds may still need tourniquets.

The sample size is undeniably small, but here are the three main takeaways from the first week of Dodger baseball.


Clayton Kershaw Hasn’t Found His Rhythm

Through his first two starts in 2015, the reigning National League MVP has looked like anything but the pitcher who took home his third Cy Young Award last season.

Kershaw got the Opening Day nod at Dodger Stadium against the San Diego Padres. He came away with a no-decision after making 99 pitches in just six innings and allowed three earned runs. It wasn’t a terrible start but certainly below the standard Kershaw has set for himself during the past several years.

Surely the offseason rust would have crumbled away by his second start?

Not quite.

The Arizona Diamondbacks torched the southpaw for 10 hits and five earned runs in less than seven innings at Chase Field. Kershaw couldn’t avoid a decision on Saturday night, suffering the loss to begin the season 0-1.

“Basically, I got blasted today,” Kershaw said, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t know what else to say.”

Kershaw has already allowed eight earned runs on the young season. He didn’t surrender his eighth earned run until May 17 last year—coincidentally against the same Diamondbacks team at Chase Field during what would end up being his worst start of the season.

Kershaw will take on the Colorado Rockies in a home start this Friday.

Adrian Gonzalez Is Locked In

The Dodgers are going to need Adrian Gonzalez to hold down the middle of the lineup more than ever now that Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez are gone.

So far, the veteran first baseman hasn’t disappointed.

He’s recorded a hit in every game this season, including five home runs during the season-opening series against San Diego—the team for which he belted 161 long balls from 2006-2010.

The highlight of the week was Gonzalez’s three-homer game last Wednesday. The Padres’ starting pitcher, Andrew Cashner, served up each dose of the trifecta—the first of Gonzalez’s career.

“I was able to run into three fastballs and I thank God they were able to go over the fence,” said Gonzalez, per ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon. “It’s definitely right up there as a personal feat.”

The three home runs piggy-backed another one he had hit late in the previous game, making it four consecutive plate appearances that ended with a long ball.

All five of Gonzalez’s home runs this year have landed beyond the right field fence, illustrating a recent trend of pulling his round-trippers rather than sending them to the opposite field.

Gonzalez’s performance wasn’t solely about the power surge, though. According to Ace of MLB Stats, he also became the first player in the last decade to open a season with at least three hits in his team’s first three games.

While none of Gonzalez’s four hits over the weekend left the yard, the 32-year-old still enters Tuesday night’s game against the Seattle Mariners with a robust .556 average (15-for-27), four doubles and seven RBI.

Bullpen Concerns Remain

A winter removed from ranking 22nd in bullpen ERA, 20th in FIP and 27th in walk rate, the Dodgers bullpen is once again struggling to begin the 2015 season.

Determined to solidify a shaky situation, new president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi decided to clean house over the winter. They severed ties with Brian Wilson and made trades to bring in right-handers Joel Peralta, Juan Nicasio and Chris Hatcher.

With closer Kenley Jansen out for at least a few more weeks as he recovers from foot surgery, the Dodgers have turned to a bullpen by committee.

Hatcher recorded the save on Opening Day but retired just one of the next nine batters he faced over two appearances—ballooning his ERA to 33.75 in the process. Peralta has since assumed closing duties and has yet to allow a run.

Although Peralta has turned in serviceable work so far, the 39-year-old has just 14 career saves in 561 innings pitched. Continued reliance on him in the ninth inning may eventually cost the Dodgers, who must patiently wait for Jansen to return.

Left-hander J.P. Howell, one of the few holdovers from last season, began the season by allowing a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning last Tuesday. After pitching a scoreless inning the next day, he then took a loss in Arizona by surrendering a walk-off single in the 10th inning on Friday.

Los Angeles relievers, whose combined 3.60 ERA ranks 21st in baseball, have been directly responsible for two of the team’s three losses.

“We’ll just play it out,” said Mattingly, per NBC Los Angeles’ Michael Duarte. “You’ll have to stay tuned. It’s a fluid situation.”


All stats courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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Complete Dodgers’ 2015 Season Preview

As spring training nears a close for MLB teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers can start to focus their attention on Opening Day.

Besides a completely new front office, half of the infield and about 40 percent of the starting rotation will feature new faces, ones the Dodgers have entrusted to carry the team back to the top of the National League West and beyond.

Fans heard about the metrics all winter, and now they have finally seen the players on the field instead of on a sheet of paper or computer screen. There have been relatively few disappointments at Camelback Ranch so far as the team molds itself into shape for the real deal.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Dodgers in advance of their first game of the season on April 6 against the San Diego Padres.

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Dodgers’ Joc Pederson Separating Himself in Battle for Center Field

When the Los Angeles Dodgers began spring training two weeks ago, most positions featured clear-cut starters who would not be facing much job competition leading up to Opening Day.

The exception—and biggest question mark facing the organization as it prepared to defend its National League West division crown—focused on the opening in center field.

For most of last season, Yasiel Puig manned the position. That was because Los Angeles had Matt Kemp in right field and Carl Crawford in left field. Andre Ethier was relegated to the bench and top outfield prospect Joc Pederson was tearing up Triple-A.

But now, Kemp is gone and Pederson is ready for his shot. Crawford is on track to begin the season in left field and the Dodgers would prefer Puig in right field in order to best utilize his excellent throwing arm.

The net result? A position battle between Pederson and Ethier, and so far, the highly touted prospect is leading the seasoned veteran by a wide margin in the race to become the Dodgers’ center fielder.


The Performance

Pederson has quite simply been the Dodgers’ best hitter in spring training.

Entering the weekend, he is batting .433 with a team-high 13 hits—including two home runs, four doubles and six RBI. Pederson yanked one of his home runs deep to right and lofted the other one over the fence in left-center, demonstrating impressive power to all fields. His seven runs scored rank second on the club, and he has also stolen a base.

“I just show up every day, go about the process that was set by the coaching staff,” said Pederson, per Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. “[I] work hard and try to do everything I can on the field to help the team win.”

The Dodgers selected Pederson in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. His progression through the minor league ranks was smooth and natural, culminating in his breakout campaign last season at Triple-A.

Pederson slashed .303/.435/.582 with 135 hits and 78 RBI in 121 games prior to his September call-up last year, becoming the Pacific Coast League’s first player since 1934 to hit at least 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season, according to Mike Axisa of

He has started more games in center field than any other outfielder on the Dodgers this spring, and has looked comfortable at the position defensively.

“Once you’re up there, you never want to leave,” Pederson said, per Baxter. “You’ll do anything you can to stay up there.”


The Competition

Ethier, on the other hand, is hardly putting up a fight when it comes to this in-house battle.

The eight-year veteran owns a mediocre .250/.300/.321 slash in 28 at-bats this spring through Thursday. His first extra-base hit did not come until this week, and he leads all Los Angeles batters with eight strikeouts.

Ethier has played 142 games in center field during the past two seasons, more than any other Dodger during that span, according to Baxter. But after reluctantly coming off the bench last season, Ethier made it known back in December that he would rather be traded than repeat the situation he endured a year ago, per the Los Angeles Times‘ Steve Dilbeck.

It was fun trying to win the way we did last year, but it didn’t prove any more successful than me playing every day or not playing every day. 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.

The Dodgers tried to acquiesce around the time Ethier made that statement, but were unsuccessful as a potential trade that would have sent him to the Arizona Diamondbacks fell through, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports

Ethier is coming off the worst season of his career, one in which he batted .249 with just four home runs and 42 RBI in 341 at-bats. Part of the difficulty in trading Ethier is the $56 million he is owed over the next three seasons.

However, Jon Heyman of reported that the Dodgers would be willing to eat half of that in order to unload Ethier, who will turn 33 in April. 


The Decision-Makers

Although the numbers speak for themselves this spring, Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly has refused to announce what figures to be an inevitable decision favoring the team’s top outfield prospect.

“We’re still in camp and we’re still competing,” said Mattingly, per Baxter. “But obviously we like what we’ve seen from Joc. We’re looking at Joc’s processes as much as we are just the results. How’s his work? Has he got good routines? How’s he kind of dealing with it all?”

Mattingly considers Pederson the “best defensive center fielder” on the Dodgers, per Dilbeck, and the rookie has done nothing to dispel that notion so far at Camelback Ranch.

The Los Angeles skipper remained diplomatic when asked about Ethier’s body of work during spring training.

“Andre’s at-bats have been pretty good,” said Mattingly, per Baxter.

This noncommittal stance from Mattingly has not wavered from the official party line that team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman established several months ago while discussing the 2015 center-field outlook.

“I think we’ll take some time in spring training and assess that, get a feel for [Pederson] in camp and how he’s handling things,” Friedman told Dilbeck. “It’ll be a discussion we’ll have with the staff and I’m sure it will be an ongoing discussion between now through the last game in March.”

With just one week left in March, the question has reached a crescendo but the answer is a simple one: Pederson should be the Opening Day center fielder for the 2015 Dodgers.


All statistics are courtesy of unless otherwise stated.

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Most Disappointing Dodgers Players in Spring Training So Far

Through the first nine games of spring training at Camelback Ranch, it’s clear that the Los Angeles Dodgers are beginning to shake off the winter rust.

Most of the players are, anyway.

Some members of the team have yet to find their rhythm on the mound and in the batter’s box. While the sample size is small, these players will need to turn things around if they have aspirations of making the 25-man roster when camp breaks in less than three weeks.

Here’s the shortlist of early-spring disappointments for the Boys in Blue.

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Dodgers’ Position-by-Position Breakdown at 2015 Spring Training

The Los Angeles Dodgers underwent their first full workout of spring training this week, officially turning the page on a busy offseason and opening the 2015 chapter with high hopes.

Succumbing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs for a second straight year prompted the franchise to rethink its overall philosophy last October. Ownership opted to hire an entirely new front office, headed by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi, shortly after the postseason defeat.

This analytic-minded duo wasted little time revamping the roster, trading away fan favorites Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon while allowing Hanley Ramirez to walk via free agency in an effort to improve defense, chemistry and financial flexibility.

Spring training games against other MLB opponents at Camelback Ranch don’t begin until March 4, but the Boys in Blue are eager to see what their new—and hopefully improved—roster can do on the field.


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Complete Los Angeles Dodgers 2015 Spring Training Preview

It’s been quite an offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are set to kick off spring training when pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch on Feb. 19.

Not only was there a change of leadership at the top with a revamped front office, but the team itself will look noticeably different from the one that saw its season end in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

New president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi wasted little time configuring the roster to align with their belief in cost-effective, analytics-based baseball.

The duo promptly traded away fan favorites Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp during the winter meetings in December after allowing Hanley Ramirez to walk in free agency. Rather than absorb a sunk cost in reliever Brian Wilson, who exercised his pricey player option for 2015, the Dodgers simply cut him outright.

Half of the infield and about 40 percent of the starting rotation will feature new faces, ones the Dodgers entrusted to carry the team back to the postseason for a third consecutive season.

Los Angeles has essentially made a gamble with its flurry of moves this winter: improved defense and more contact at the plate will make up for the loss of power in the lineup. Questions still remain about the bullpen, however, and it’s not a lock that the team can reach the 94-win plateau from last season.

Fans have heard about the metrics all winter. But now it’s finally time to take these names off a sheet of paper and instead put them on an actual field. Here’s the complete spring training preview for the 2015 Dodgers.


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