The Dodgers' plentiful outfield depth may be motivating this move. Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig manned the corner outfield spots for most of the season, while Skip Schumaker and Scott Van Slyke are serviceable bench players. Los Angeles essentially had four starting outfielders this season to fill three positions, but injuries to Ethier and Kemp kept playing time from becoming an issue.
Kemp seems like he would better fit with the Dodgers moving forward. Crawford and Puig appear locked in at the corner outfield spots, and Ethier is stretched as a defender in center field. The 29-year-old, however, is coming off an injury-riddled and disappointing 2013 campaign, hitting .270/.328/.395 in 290 plate apperances. Kemp will miss the entire postseason for Los Angeles due to an ankle injury.
Ethier, who is also battling an ankle injury, had a much better 2013 season, hitting .272/.360/.423 in 553 plate appearances.
Both players are signed to expensive, long-term deals. Kemp is due $130 million through 2019, while Ethier will make $71.5 million over the next four seasons.