Andre Ethier a Diamondback? Miguel Montero a Dodger?
The teams recently discussed a trade involving those players, but the deal collapsed when the D-Backs’ ownership declined to give final approval, according to major-league sources.
Under the proposed trade, the Dodgers would have sent Ethier and catcher Tim Federowicz to the Diamondbacks for Montero and lower-level prospects, sources said.
Ethier, 32, is owed $53.5 million over the next three seasons, plus a $2.5 million buyout. Montero, 31, is owed $40 million over the same term. The Dodgers would have included significant cash to help cover the difference, sources said; the exact amount is not known.
A revival of the discussions is unlikely, sources said. Montero is said to be a favorite of owner Ken Kendrick. The D-backs also might not want to deal within the NL West or with their former general manager, Josh Byrnes, who is now the Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations.
The D-backs evidently were willing to add Ethier even as they proceeded toward a six-year, $68.5 million agreement with Cuban free agent Yasmany Tomas on Thanksgiving Eve.
Many clubs view Tomas as a corner outfielder. D-backs manager Chip Hale, however, recently said that the team plans to give Tomas a chance to win the third-base job, so perhaps the D-backs could have accommodated both Tomas and Ethier.
The Dodgers have been working to trade at least one of their three high-priced outfielders — Ethier, Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp. Their talks with the D-backs offered a glimpse into one type of deal they could make — an exchange of comparable contracts and comparable major-league talent.
Montero, a left-handed hitter, likely would have become the Dodgers’ primary catcher, forcing A.J. Ellis, a right-handed hitter, into a lesser role. The Dodgers have offered arbitration to Ellis, who is projected to receive $3.8 million, according to Matt Swartz of MLBTradeRumors.com.
Clearing Ethier may also have reduced the Dodgers’ interest in trading Kemp, who is drawing heavy interest from the Padres and also from the Orioles, Mariners and Rangers, according to major-league sources.
The Dodgers, however, could trade both Ethier and Kemp and open next season with an outfield of Crawford in left, rookie Joc Pederson in center and Yasiel Puig in right, with Scott Van Slyke and the newly acquired Chris Heisey in reserve.
A trade to the D-backs would have represented a homecoming for Ethier, a native of Phoenix who attended Arizona State. The D-backs evidently view Ethier as a player who could bounce back with more regular playing time. Ethier last season had a career-low .691 OPS in a career-low 380 plate appearances.
With the D-backs, Ethier could have served as a left-handed cleanup hitter between a pair of right-handed hitters, Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo. Federowicz, meanwhile, would have assumed a prominent role in the team’s catching plans.
The D-backs would have been left with a surplus of outfielders, perhaps creating a platform for other moves. Ender Inciarte finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting last season, while David Peralta had a .770 OPS in 348 plate appearances. Oft-injured Cody Ross is owed $8.5 million next season, plus a $1 million buyout