After the Reds put the finishing touches on a three-game sweep of the Dodgers Wednesday afternoon, Dodgers ..."/> After the Reds put the finishing touches on a three-game sweep of the Dodgers Wednesday afternoon, Dodgers ..."/>

Mattingly Awaits Dodger Trade Winds


After the Reds put the finishing touches on a three-game sweep of the Dodgers Wednesday afternoon, Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly called for changes. According to ESPN LA’s Beto Duran, Mattingly responded to being eight games under .500 by saying, “if we don’t make [a] move [it is] going to be long summer.”

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images via Zimbio

With the division-leading Giants winning three straight, the Dodgers have lost nothing but ground this week, firmly cementing the realization that they will be sellers come July, as if that wasn’t in stone already, given the club’s financial crisis. But while trading veterans and expiring contracts may sound like a sound-proof way to help the Dodgers make their bi-monthly payroll, both injuries and deferred contracts have left Ned Colletti’s hands tied.

The most valuable (and realistic) trading chip on the Dodgers roster coming into the season was Rafael Furcal. The veteran shortstop is in the last season of his 3-year deal, and set to make a whopping $12 million in 2011. Furcal, who has served as the Dodgers’ spark plug throughout his tenure in Los Angeles, has battled injuries throughout the season, playing just 17 games. His latest injury, a strained oblique, has him out until the All-Star Break, giving teams little time to weigh their options with Furcal. Should he be dealt on July 31, Furcal would have roughly $4 million remaining on his salary, an amount that is 15-times larger than the bill for his replacement, Dee Gordon.

It’s hard to imagine any team that desperate to take a $4 million flyer on a shortstop that is coming off two separate injuries in the course of two months, regardless of his potential. Should an injury occur to a contending shortstop, the demand could be there, but that’s a lot of “ifs”.

Furcal is far from being the only trade chip on the shelf, however. Jonathan Broxton’s role on the Dodgers pitching staff was in jeopardy before he was shut down in May, and his $7 million salary isn’t helping matters on the disabled list. A healthy Broxton could have brought a decent return, but the number of teams now willing to take on a couple million in salary for damaged goods (physically and mentally) is surely at zero.

Also, veteran arms like Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla aren’t entirely in the Dodgers’ plan for the future, and neither is their combined $6.5 million salary. They too, however, remain on the DL, both having been there multiple times this season.

While it’s hard to see the Dodgers making a drastic move and dismantling their core, the offers for Andre Ethier could have considerable value. The 29-year-old has already said that his days as a Dodger are numbered, so a trade wouldn’t exactly come out of right field. The retribution of dealing the fan favorite, on the other hand, could be costly. For a team that is having trouble getting butts in seats, they would be hard pressed to sacrifice a considerable loss of ticket sales and fan support(not to mention a clear-cut waving of the white flag),  for some initial financial fluidity. Plus, while Dee Gordon’s play makes a trade of Furcal manageable, Andre Ethier’s replacement, Trayvon Robinson, is still a year away from the big leagues.

Lastly, a lot of the Dodgers troubles to make payroll have been brought on by the mass amounts of deferred money that Ned Colletti signed away to his free agent acquistions. Manny Ramirez is still owed $25 million, a third of which is to be paid by the end of June. Then there’s Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones and Jason Schmidt, whom the Dodgers owe a combined $8.6 million to.

So while some can feel as though Ned Colletti is at a disadvantage in providing some salary relief to the Dodgers, you can easily make the point that he put himself in the hole. By the way, all four of those big-money signings? Yes. Busts. Looks like Mattingly will be waiting a while.

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