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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