The Los Angeles Dodgers have a problem in the outfield. In my opinion it is a good problem to have but they need to settle it before it goes too far. They currently have four outfielders for three spots. Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Andre Ethier make up the four players fighting for those spots. We have seen the way that Carl Crawford has performed in the postseason. Yasiel Puig sparked this team in June along with Hanley Ramirez. So I don’t see those two guys going anywhere any time soon. It comes up to the two guys that have been injured as of late.
Matt Kemp finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting in 2011 and we have seen what he can do when healthy. In 2011, Kemp hit 39 home runs, drove in 126 and stole 40 bases. Injuries have really hurt his production the last two seasons but with a healthy Matt Kemp the Dodgers could be even better. He has the five tools that every team wants in their center fielder. He can track down almost any ball hit near him, he has the arm to throw guys out, 11 assists in 2011 and 7 in 2012, he has the ability to hit for contact and power and can run the bases really well.
Matt Kemp is a must for the Dodgers organization. When you think about Carl Crawford in left, Matt Kemp in center and Yasiel Puig in right, a ball should never hit the outfield grass. If they are all healthy they have a top three outfield in all of baseball. The question that has to be answered by the Dodgers front office is, “Can these three players stay healthy for 150 games each season?”. If they believe the answer is yes then Matt Kemp is the answer.
That scenario leaves out one person, Andre Ethier. Ethier is a good player but is he the right player for what the Dodgers are trying to do? In my opinion he isn’t. He doesn’t have the power numbers that Kemp or Puig have and he doesn’t have the speed of either of them. He is a high strikeout guy along with Puig, but Puig can do so much more for their ball club. Every time Puig comes to the plate you have to believe something great is going to happen. He is a game changer, Ethier isn’t that guy. Ethier would fit in well with a good mid-market team that needs help in the corner outfield positions. Ethier has also shown he can play center in a smaller ball park.
The Dodgers have a great problem and they could get a really good player for Ethier if they decide to trade him. They could always upgrade in the infield for a second baseman. As I posted earlier Brandon Phillips could end up being traded. The Dodgers could take his contract and trade away Ethier for some bullpen help. Los Angeles is in good shape for a while with great starting pitching and elite players at multiple positions.