The Los Angeles Dodgers currently have a major surplus of outfielders as they inch closer to Opening Day, and while speculation early in the offseason ran rampant that they would move one of their outfielders, the rumor mill seems to have cooled recently. So what exactly should the Dodgers do with their three former All-Star outfielders (Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Either) and their one future All-Star (Yasiel Puig)?
It seems that many wish to see one of these outfielders traded in return for a player that represents a need the Dodgers will be unable to fill internally. There is a small problem with this rationale because the Dodgers do not seem to have any pressing need, unless you count the uncertainty of the second base situation. The starting rotation and bullpen are projected to be among the best in baseball, the infield appears set, and A.J. Ellis has solidified the catching position. In fact, the only glaring weakness for the 2014 Dodgers is the lack of bench players. It simply would not make practical sense to trade Either, Kemp or Crawford (the Dodgers would not likely entertain any trade scenario involving Yasiel Puig) only to bring back a bench piece, especially when such a trade would rid them of a valuable fourth outfielder.
Given the rash of injuries the Dodgers had to endure last season, it is likely that the team will have to rely on their fourth outfielder at some point during the season due to injury. Even if all of the outfielders are healthy throughout the year, it would likely benefit Crawford and Kemp to receive regularly scheduled rest days to help them avoid any recurring injuries. The only benefit to trading one of the four outfielders would be to shed salary, and the Dodgers have demonstrated that the budget is not necessarily an immediate concern.
Eventually, this will become an issue that needs to be addressed, especially when Joc Pederson starts knocking on the door of the big league club. For now, however, the best course of action is likely to stand pat with what they have. As the Dodgers learned last year after trading away some of their pitching surplus, it is always better to have too much than to have too little.Tags: A.J. Ellis, Baseball, Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp, MLB, Rumor Mill, Surplus of Outfielders, Yasiel Puig