Could Dodgers trade Ethier, sign Bourn? They say they won't

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

For all the money the Dodgers have spent, they still don't have a leadoff hitter.

Why not Michael Bourn?

You could come up with a few reasons why not, starting with the point that the Dodgers already have three outfielders they're committed to paying a combined $54.6 million in 2013. To even think of signing Bourn, the Dodgers would need to trade an outfielder, most likely Andre Ethier.

And even though one source said the idea had been discussed, a Dodgers official said definitively Wednesday night that nothing of the sort will happen.

Instead, the Dodgers say, their focus now is to add a late-inning reliever to their bullpen.

The idea of trading Ethier was raised earlier this week, and the Dodgers insisted then that it wasn't going to happen. The Dodgers signed Ethier to an $85 million extension just six months ago, but his almost total lack of production against left-handers (.606 OPS against lefties ranked 213th in the majors) now comes up regularly in conversations with Dodger people.

Some in the organization are also concerned about the leadoff spot, which likely goes to Hanley Ramirez or Mark Ellis, the way the roster is currently constructed. Carl Crawford has never been comfortable leading off, which is why he has led off just seven times in the last five seasons.

Dodgers leadoff hitters were 26th in baseball in runs scored in 2012, and they were 29th in leadoff on-base percentage (.281). The Braves ranked seventh in baseball in leadoff on-base percentage (.346), with Bourn their primary leadoff man.

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