Although Matt Kemp plays just about every inning of every game, the Dodgers need someone
on the roster that can take over center field if Kemp gets hurt. Gwynn is better
equipped for that than newly signed utility man Jerry Hairston Jr.
Gwynn wants a raise in 2012 while the bankrupt Dodgers are looking to save anywhere they
can. Thus, the two sides are locked in a game of financial chicken leading up to the
Gwynn, in a text message, said he wasn't sure how it will play out.
Players that are not tendered a contract become free agents. A year ago, the Dodgers cut
catcher Russell Martin loose at the deadline because they knew that Rod Barajas was
available for less money. The two finished the 2011 season with similar stats.
Similarly, there are three free-agent outfielders who compare favorably with Gwynn in
skills and salary that offer alternatives to the popular son of the Hall of Famer.
Rick Ankiel, 32, hit .239 with nine homers and 37 RBIs for Washington, mostly playing
center field. He earned $1.5 million. Corey Patterson, 32, hit .239 with six homers and
36 RBIs for Toronto and St. Louis, earning $900,000. And Endy Chavez, 33, hit .301 with
five homers and 27 RBIs for Texas -- mostly playing center field -- earning $1 million.
Coco Crisp, 32, would be a great fit, but he's coming off a salary of $5.75 million,
which is way out of the Dodgers' budget. He was the A's switch-hitting center fielder,
batting .264 with eight homers, 54 RBIs, 69 runs and a league-leading 49 steals.
There are other players that have the Dodgers' interest, like Hideki Matsui, but
defensive limitations make him less attractive, especially in the National League.