First lets take a look at Ethier's performance over the course of his career. After the 2005 season, he was traded from the A's to the Dodgers; part of the deal that brought Milton Bradley to Oakland. He had a decent rookie season in 2006, finishing 2nd in the rookie of the year voting. In 126 games, he hit .308 with 11 HR and 55 RBI. He did not start in the NLDS that season, giving way to Marlon Anderson as the Dodgers were swept in the 3 game series by the New York Mets.
The next two seasons saw Ethier improve and become more of a run producer. 2007 he hit .284 with 13 HR and 64 RBI, improving to .305, 20, 77 in 2008. 2008 saw him score 90 runs and hit 38 2Bs, both career highs to that point. 2009 saw the best of Ethier; he hit .272 with 31 HR and 106 RBI, 41 2B and 92 RS. He finished 6th in the NL MVP voting and was considered, at the time, the Dodgers' best player.
Since then, he has been less than outstanding. For the exception of his hitting streak last year, he has underperformed and the Dodgers have been reported to be seeking a trade. 2010 saw him miss some time due to injury and last year was a total disappointment. In 135 games hit he .292 with 11 HR and 62 RBI. If you factored in what he hit during the streak (over .420), he spent the rest of the season hitting in the .220/ .230 range. This is way off what he has done over the course of his career.
He will be 30 in early April. His past numbers and overall potential should draw interest from other teams if the Dodgers are looking to move him. He is arbitration eligible this year as well as next before becoming a free agent after the 2013 season. Heres the top five teams that could benefit from the addition of Ethier.
5. New York Mets: There was early talk that the Dodgers had interest in Mets INF Daniel Murphy. Ethier has played some CF in his career, but the Mets would probably look to use him in RF because of lack of CF experience. Lucas Duda could either become part of a trade or play the role of 4th OF. The Mets could try an outfield of Bay, Ethier and Duda and see how it holds out defensively. Ethier easily could become an All Star player again. Look for the Mets to be interested after the 2012 season if he is not moved.
4. San Francisco Giants: The Giants need offense in the most urgent of ways. I don' t know if the Dodgers would look to trade him within the division. Remember they have acquired Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan in seperate deals this offseason. No question the Giants could benefit from his bat in the order and if there was interest in a deal from the Giants end, they could offer prospects that could benefit the Dodgers either in the short term or the long term.
3. Toronto Blue Jays: I have, as well as many Jays fans, been expecting the Blue Jays to be a lot more aggressive this offseason. Word is they were interested in Gio Gonzalez, Yu Darvish and Carlos Beltran before they all wound up with other organizations. They may be interested in Prince Fielder, but if they don't land him, they may turn their attention to Ethier. The Jays have prospects that they could live with giving up and a match could be made between the two teams.
2. Philadelphia Phillies: I can see the Phillies getting Ethier. They need a LF with Raul Ibanez not coming back and Ethier could benefit from playing his home games in Citizens Bank Park. Being only 30, it may make sense for the Phillies to finally move Dominick Brown for Ethier to make this trade work. Ethier could benefit from a change of scenery and Brown will face a lot less pressure from LA then he was feeling in Philadelphia.
1. Boston Red Sox: I think you get to a point when you start to wonder how much of a farm system the Red Sox have left. They have had a first round draft pick in the last two years and have moved prospects for Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey. Perhaps a match could be made here. Andre Ethier straight up for RHP Daniel Bard. Dodgers get a closer and the Red Sox their starting RF.