Dodgers have to listen to offers for their three veteran outfielders

The Dodgers are open to trading one of their three veteran outfielders? If I were any more shocked I’d be Capt. Renault shutting down Rick’s Cafe Americain.

Of course they are. Why wouldn’t they be? They’d better be.

Which is not the same as saying they are actively trying to move Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford, but General Manager Ned Colletti would not be doing his job if he weren’t at least open to the idea.

It’s pretty simple math. The Dodgers have four outfielders all making a heap of money and can play only three at a time.


The Dodgers still owe Kemp $128 million, Crawford $81.5 million and Ethier $69 million. And then there is young Yasiel Puig and his remaining $25.4 million.

I have no problem keeping all four, given the injury history of the three veterans. If they were somehow to stay healthy throughout the 2014 season, there would be plenty of plate appearances to go around. Particularly with Crawford (.206) and with Ethier (.221) struggling to hit left-handers.

But if some team with a quality starting shortstop or third baseman were to approach about one of the outfielders, why wouldn’t the Dodgers listen? There are no untouchables on the roster not named Clayton Kershaw. You could make a case for Adrian Gonzalez and Puig, but the only known superstar still approaching his prime is Kershaw.

Fox’s Ken Rosenthal wrote the Dodgers would be open to moving one their veteran outfielders:

“That possibility, in fact, already is in the works; the Dodgers, according to major league sources, are listening on Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, telling prospective suitors, ‘If you’re interested in one of them, make us an offer.’ ”

The trouble is, none of the three veteran outfielders is exactly at peak value. Kemp may have the most appeal, but he’s coming off two down, injury-riddled seasons and recent ankle surgery.

Rosenthal said one rival executive, when asked which player is most desirable, answered: “None.”

Still, if you’re a team with a hole in its outfield and can swap for a Kemp and have the Dodgers pick up a decent amount of his salary, why wouldn’t you at least be interested? Kicking the tires is not buying.

After Robinson Cano, free agency is pretty barren this off-season, so the trade market figures to be a particularly active one this winter. Teams are going to sniff around. As long as the Dodgers get something back of value are not just trying to unload salary, they need to at least investigate moving an outfielder.

They have big deals on the horizon to consummate with Hanley Ramirez and Kershaw, so shedding a big outfielder salary makes sense. It doesn’t make it easy, just logical.

With their salaries and injury reputations, it is unlikely that Colletti will be able to work a deal. But at next week’s general managers’ meetings, there’s nothing lost by listening.