Andre Ethier’s injury could prompt Dodgers to trade for outfielder

While Andre Ethier‘s absence has allowed Trayce Thompson to make his name known and Howie Kendrick to play more frequently, the Dodgers have missed his bat immensely. And they’ll continue to miss it.

Ethier had a bone scan on Friday and the results weren’t great. The fracture he suffered when he fouled a ball off his leg in Spring Training has not yet full healed after almost four months, which is puts his timetable for a return in question. At this rate, it’s probably best the Dodgers don’t expect him back at all this season.

Ethier had a resurgent 2015 season, posting a career-high 137 wRC+. For a team that has struggled on offense for a vast majority of the season, that production has been sorely missed. He may not have been a player who is 37 percent better than league-average this season, but he almost certainly would have been more productive than the revolving door of Dodger left fielders.

Joc Pederson is due back soon from a bruised AC joint, Scott Van Slyke is back and relatively healthy, Thompson has a bit of a side/back issue at present and Kendrick has been overwhelmingly below-average for most of the season. With the trade deadline 16 days away, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the Dodgers bring in an outfielder via the trade market.

I wrote about the Reds’ Jay Bruce a few weeks ago, and he could still be a possibility. But a guy who makes a lot of sense is Josh Reddick from Oakland. Reddick, 29, is having his best offensive season to date: .302/.381/.448, .353 wOBA, 123 wRC+. He has what would be a career-best BABIP (.321), but it isn’t that large an outlier. He’s walking at a career-high pace — an excellent 11.5 percent, which is also his strikeout rate. The only thing that gives pause is his power has dipped for the third consecutive season. Reddick had a .182 ISO in 2014, .177 in 2015 and just barely above average at .146 this season. He does play in an extreme pitchers’ park, but he actually has a higher ISO in (which is the actual name of the Athletics’ stadium) Coliseum than on the road.

Reddick is strictly a platoon guy, much like Ethier. He has just eight hits against left-handed pitchers in 48 at-bats, and his wRC+ is 24 against southpaws. He’s not that bad a hitter against lefties, but he was still below-average with an 83 wRC+ last season. Basically, the Dodgers would be acquiring a lite version of Ethier. Reddick is a free agent after the season, so there’s no long-term commitment. It also means the price to acquire him shouldn’t be terribly high straight-up — and much lower than trying to acquire Bruce. Chances are, Reddick could be part of larger package deal, but the Dodgers could do well to acquire him before the deadline.

Who knew the Dodgers would have missed Ethier this much … in 2016. The depth has done well(ish) to mitigate the loss, but it might be time to bring in someone from outside to bolster the talent level on the roster.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.