Rumor Mill: Trading Andre Ethier & signing Michael Bourn + trading for Joel Hanrahan

MichaelBourn

Nowhere to start here but with Andre Ethier rumors, right? Well, last time we left off on this rumbling, I was tackling a scenario where Ethier gets dealt and the Dodgers sign Nick Swisher, but there was one other frequently brought up possibility: Michael Bourn.

The Dodgers could pursue free agent center fielder Michael Bourn if they trade Andre Ethier, Rosenthal writes.

Bourn is an above-average hitter who has put up a 98 OPS+ in his four seasons as a full-time starter (.280/.348/.378/.726). He has never put up a season with an OPS higher than .739, but he’s still considered a marquee free agent because defense and baserunning count as well. He’s been worth around a win a year both on the basepaths and in the field, which results in a player consistently clocking in between 4-5 WAR.

For the Dodgers specific situation, there’s the potential added benefit of moving Matt Kemp to right field, which could reduce his risk for injury, since his bat is where basically all of his value lies. So unlike Swisher, Bourn isn’t an almost lateral move with minute benefits in platoon splits. Rather, he marks an improvement of a win or two and allows the Dodgers to field an optimal positional alignment.

As such, this would be interesting to me even if it came with a bit more risk in terms of length of contract and dollars. He’s headed into his age 30 season, and I don’t expect him to command anything less than a five-year deal, so certainly there’s reason to worry. Instinctively, I have concern about handing out significant contracts to players who don’t hit well (like Carl Crawford), but everything in the track record indicates this would be a significant upgrade for the team immediately, so I’d have no problem with the moves being done.

With all that said though, there have been frequent denials

But even that scenario doesn’t seem to have a great chance to happen. “Barring injury,’” one Dodgers connected person maintained, “there is about a 100 percent chance Andre Ethier will be the [Dodgers] Opening day right fielder.”

…so why bother addressing this stuff, right? Mainly because I’d say it’s hard to rule out anything for the Dodgers right now, especially something that has the possibility of improving the team dramatically.

Besides, does anybody actually believe reports that the Dodgers are basically unwilling to listen on Ethier?

#redsox inquired about andre ethier at the start of winter & were told “not available.” more evidence he’s staying in LA

I don’t. So while getting all the moving parts to work out would still shock me, I think it’s not as impossible as represented.

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On the other front, the Dodgers are in on a reliever of some sort, with Joel Hanrahan being the leading rumor.

Joel Hanrahan has saved 76 games with a 2.24 ERA for the Pirates over the past two seasons, but his name has surfaced in numerous trade rumors this offseason and now Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweets that the Buccos are pushing to trade him (Twitter link). The Dodgers are one possibility, according to Knobler.

The Dodgers are not alone though, as there’s competition for him, apparently.

The Dodgers are showing interested in Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, but they have a little company. The Red Sox are said to have an interest as well.

Not seeing what the point of this is.

A career 3.74 ERA/3.62 FIP reliever who was trending in the correct direction until his age 30 season in 2012 is not exactly what I would want to see in a back-end type. I mean, people already complain about Javy Guerra and he has a career 2.45 ERA and 3.32 FIP, plus he makes the league minimum.

I bring up Javy’s name because given a seven-man bullpen, Guerra is the one likely to be bumped to AAA in the event of Hanrahan’s acquisition, and there’s certainly a strong case to be made that it would be a downgrade to the bullpen. Certainly Hanrahan would add depth, but he projects to make ~$8 million next year, and no matter how wealthy the Dodgers are, spending that much for a neutral move and depth seems a bit much.

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