The Los Angeles Dodgers appear capable of anything. Even a trade of right fielder Andre Ethier is not out of the question.
The Dodgers are shopping Ethier, major-league sources say — and their intent might be to clear a spot for a free agent such as first baseman/outfielder Nick Swisher or center fielder Michael Bourn.
However, one official with knowledge of the Dodgers’ thinking says that the talks about Ethier originated from inquiries by two American League clubs, and that the Dodgers are not actively pursuing a deal.
The official adds that the renewed interest in Ethier stems from the shrinking pool of available hitters on both the free-agent and trade markets
The Dodgers have “zero intention” of trading Ethier, the official said, but will listen to offers. The discussions, to this point, have failed to progress.
Whatever the Dodgers’ intentions, it seems doubtful that any team would take Ethier’s new contract in its entirety. He is a career .238 hitter against left-handed pitching.
But, in the words of one source who has been in contact with the Dodgers, “I wouldn’t put anything past them. They’ve got so much money, they don’t care.”
Translation: The Dodgers could pay a significant portion of Ethier’s contract to facilitate a trade. The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners are among the teams that could be in the market for outfielders.
One possibility would be to move Ethier for another outfielder — say, Seattle’s Franklin Gutierrez. But Bourn, in particular, would be an intriguing free-agent option.
The Dodgers lack a leadoff hitter, and the addition of Bourn also would enable them to move Matt Kemp from center to right field.
Kemp is coming off shoulder surgery. Left fielder Carl Crawford is coming off Tommy John surgery. And Ethier underwent surgery on his right knee in September 2011.
Ethier lacks a no-trade clause in his new contract. The Dodgers, under new club president Stan Kasten, do not include such provisions in their deals.