So the Andre Ethier rumors continue to swirl throughout the twittersphere. Needless to say it’s very annoying. Now the rumors circulating have the Dodgers and Mariners talking trade. Apparently there was a tweet from an ESPN insider that was going around. I won’t say who it is, because there is still nothing concrete about these rumors yet. Once again it is all speculation, but could there be some truth to it? Could the Dodgers and Mariners really be talking trade?
I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. I like Ethier, So these rumors cut through my mind like a knife. When I see negative tweets and comments about Ethier it makes me upset. As you know, Stacie and I are huge Ethier fans. We see Ethier for what he is, a skilled clutch hitter who plays a solid right field, and crushes right handers. He’s been an extremely valuable player for the Dodgers over the last six years or so. Believe me when I say I do not want to see Andre Ethier traded. But at the same time, I don’t make the calls I just write about them. And there very well could be some truth to these speculations behind the scenes.
So ok, let’s play along with this for a minute. If the Dodgers were to be trading Ethier to the Mariners, who could they get in return? Much of these lame rumors revolve around either free agent center fielder Michael Bourn, and or Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton. Some crazy scenarios have Stanton being involved in some kind of three way trade with Seattle and the Dodgers. That seems very unlikely though. So Instead we’ll talk about the Seattle talk rumors.
Most of the rumors involve just the Dodgers and Mariners. The whole thing revolves around Bourn though. Since trading Ethier would open a hole in right field, the only way to plug the hole with an outfielder that can equal Ethier’s production in some way is to sign Bourn. According to the rumors, and anti-Ethier people, Bourn could either just slot into right field, or from what the clamorers are saying, moving Kemp to right, and having Bourn playing center. Of course, the free agent market is terrible. Bourn is the only decent outfielder left available on the market right now. There are several other aspects to this idea, which I will get to in a second.
First of all if we are going to be trading Ethier to Seattle, what would be getting back in return? I’ll be pissed if the Dodgers trade Ethier, but if they get proper value in return for him then I can live with it easier. And if they do trade him, they sure as hell better dam well get value. Obviously Seattle isn’t going to trade Felix Hernandez, and other than Dustin Ackley, Seattle doesn’t have anyone else on their 40 man roster that could help us. So if this trade were to happen, the Dodgers would likely want a few top level prospects from the Mariners. And I can bet you dollars to donuts, that Chris Capuano, and or Aaron Harang would be thrown into the potential deal.
If we are targeting some of Seattle’s prospects, then it better be for position players. We already have more than enough pitching, and the organization is dangerously thin on position player depth, especially infield prospects. There are two top 100 position player prospects in the Seattle organization that could be potential targets.
The first is 21 year old catcher Mike Zunino. I’ve had my eye on this guy for some time now. The Dodger’s system could use another good catching prospect. The right handed hitting catcher won the 2012 golden spikes award, and was drafted in the first round by the Mariners. Zunino is known for his powerful swing, and good batting skills. Zunino split time in 2012 between the single-A Everett AquaSox of the Northwestern League, and the double-A Jaskson Generals of the Southern League. He batted .360 total with a .447 OBP, 13 home runs, and 43 RBI. He drew 23 walks, and only whiffed 33 times all season. He had a .974 OPS with the Generals, and his quick promotion to the double-A level could mean he is on a fast track to the big leagues. He ranked in the top ten on the Mariner’s prospect list, and is ranked by MLB.com as the number 44 prospect last season in all of Baseball. His defensive abilities are just as good according to the reports. He handles the pitching staff well, has a strong accurate throwing arm, and steady hands. The young catcher is 6’2 and 220 pounds. Zunino projects as a middle of the order starting catcher with a strong power bat. If we are trading Ethier, then we better be getting Zunino thrown into the deal.
Another talented position player prospect within the Seattle organization that could be available is infielder Nick Franklin. The Dodgers could always use another good middle infield prospect. Franklin is a 21 year old switch-hitting shortstop from Sanford Florida. The Mariners drafted him in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft. Baseball America ranked him at number 53 on their top 100 prospects list before the 2011 season. He started out with immense promise. In his first full professional season playing for the Clinton Lumberkings of the Midwest league, Franklin smacked 23 home runs, drove in 65 RBI, and batted .283 in 574 plate appearances during the 2010 season. His career stalled a bit when he was hit injured after he was hit in the face by a bat during batting practice back in 2011. He was promoted from the double-A Generals to the triple-A Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. He split time between the Generals and the Rainiers in 2012. He hit .243 with seven home runs, and 29 RBI in 296 plate appearances for Tacoma in 2012. It seems since his injury in 2011, his OBP and average have declined, but he’s only 21 years old and has plenty of time to improve. He’s a career .283 minor league hitter, and has a .351 OBP. He also has some fringe speed as well. Franklin stole 25 bases in 2010 for Clinton, and then 13 bases in 2011 for the High Desert Mavericks. The Mariners have been playing him at second base, and he’s split time at second and short since he started his professional career. He’s now got about 100 games at second base under his belt. Franklin ranks number three on the Mariner’s top ten prospect list, and is number 29 on the MLB.com top 100.
Another good potential prospect would be second base/third base prospect Stefen Romero. He could be overlooked because he’s considered behind Vincent Catricala on the depth chart, but that might not be for much longer, According to reports, Catricala has been struggling with his recent promotion to double-A, while Romero has flourished.
Romero is a 24 year old right handed hitting infielder and was drafted in the 12th round of the 2010 amateur draft. Normally most low round draft picks aren’t considered top prospects, but Romero has shown great pop, and batting skills according to the reports. Romero hit 16 home runs in 2011, and popped 23 home runs combined during 2012. He batted .357 for High Desert, and .347 for the Jackson Generals in 2012. He’s played most of his minor league career at second base, but has some experience at third base as well. Romero is a good contact hitter with pop. He also ranks in the Mariner’s top ten prospects.
These are a few of Seattle’s top ranked position player prospects that could be headed to the Dodgers in a potential trade involving Andre Ethier. This is just speculation as of now, and all of this is my own speculation on which prospects Seattle could offer in a potential deal. Here are a few things to consider about the Ethier rumors.
1. Bourn is a table setter, and not a middle of the order bat. Losing Ethier means losing 20+ home runs in the middle of the order.
All of this revolves around what Michael Bourn does. Hopefully once Bourn signs with someone else, all of these stupid Ethier rumors will stop. Since Bourn is the last available all-star outfielder remaining on the market, once he signs, the Ethier rumors have to stop. The thing is, Bourn is a table setter, and Ethier is a middle of the order bat. Don’t get me wrong , Bourn is a very good player, and a good outfielder. However, if you trade Ethier you’re losing 20+ home runs in the middle of the order. While Bourn is a great top of the order bat, we already have a lead-off hitter for next year. The Dodgers are supposed to be going with Carl Crawford at the top of the lineup in 2013. After the Dodgers ranked next to last in home runs in all of Baseball last season, they need to keep as much power in the lineup as they can.
2. Seattle can only offer prospects in return for Ethier.
3. Bourn only has 20 games in right field. Kemp would have to move from Center field to right field.
Hopefully nothing comes of these asinine rumors. Trading Ethier would be a big mistake for the Dodgers. Not only is he a good player, but he’s a fan favorite. There’s more at play than just money here. Seattle has doesn’t have anybody on their 40 man roster that we would want. Would you really want Franklin Gutierrez? Or Michael Saunders? No Thanks. You know that saying, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. We have more pressing issues on the roster to be concerned with then these lame Ethier rumors. But if the Dodgers really are going to trade Ethier, then fine. They sure as hell better get value in return for him. If that’s the case, then it better be for top level prospects. The only way I see this happening at all is if Seattle is willing to part with a few of their top level prospects. I still don’t see this happening. Why would the GBM sign Ethier to an 85 million dollar five year contract only to trade him the following year?
Regardless, I don’t want Michael Bourn, I want Andre Ethier. Most of the fans feel the same way as well. So please, Mr. Bourn, sign with someone, so we can stop hearing about these dumb rumors once and for all.