The Chicago White Sox are exploring a trade for Los Angeles Dodgers' outfielder Andre Ethier, Phil Rogers of MLB.com and Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reported.
It is known that the White Sox have been looking for outfielders this offseason, showing varying degrees of interest in Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, and Alex Gordon. The club could not complete a contract with any of the trio.
Dexter Fowler still remains as a free agent, though Rogers reported that the White Sox would prefer to add a left-handed hitting outfielder. Fowler is a switch hitter.
The team is projected to run out Adam Eaton, Melky Cabrera, and Avisail Garcia to the outfield on Opening Day. If the White Sox got any deal done, the player would likely replace Garcia, who hit for a discouraging .675 OPS (89 OPS+) in 601 plate appearances last year. He has not lived up to the top prospect potential he once had.
The Dodgers would be a logical trade partner for the White Sox, even though Ethier had a good season last year. Los Angeles currently employs arguably five starting caliber outfielders, in Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, Enrique Hernandez, and Ethier. It is hard to know what they would be looking for in return.
Ethier had a bounce-back season in 2015, hitting .294/.366/.486 with 14 home runs, 53 RBIs, and a 136 OPS+ in 445 plate appearances. The 33-year-old was worth 2.9 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement.
Ethier is still under contract through 2017 and is guaranteed $35.5 million over the next two years. His deal comes with a vesting option for 2018, valued at $17.5 million with a $2.5 million buyout.