Should Dodgers Consider Giving Justin Turner a 3-Year Deal?

turner3
(Los Angeles Times photo)

While we have recently seen the Dodgers replenish the organizational roster with a handful of potential fringe players, we still haven’t witnessed the club make any significant acquisitions that might make an immediate impact on the big league squad.

Along those same lines, several of the players who left Los Angeles via free agency at the end of the 2020 season remained unsigned—specifically, infielder Justin Turner.

According to some news that broke early Saturday evening, the 36-year-old Turner is seeking a multi-year contract that could conceivably push the Dodgers out of the running for his services.

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reported over the weekend that Turner is seeking a three-year deal, although there are signs that it’s just a starting point for the Long Beach native, who is represented by GEM Agency.

Abraham says that there are signs that a compromise could be reached between Turner and the Dodgers, adding that both “Dave Roberts and Mookie Betts have said Turner is the key to what has been a strong team culture.”

As stated in the report, “Betts said several times during the postseason that Turner sets the tone in the clubhouse.” Indeed, not having Turner’s veteran presence in the dugout would be a definite blow to the returning team next season.

Still, it’s nothing the Dodgers shouldn’t be able to overcome.

Admittedly, it’s tough seeing JT as an everyday third baseman for the next three seasons in the National League, especially with the designated hitter likely being out of the picture in 2020.

Personally, some of my initial thoughts revolved around Turner moving across the diamond to first base, a spot where slugger Max Muncy has settled nicely over the past few seasons.

During the winter of 2019, JT said publicly that he’d be willing to play anywhere that was beneficial to the club when the Dodgers were pursuing All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon through free agency.

“I’ve bounced around [the diamond] my whole career,” Turner said during the time of the Rendon rumors. “I don’t care.”

Over the course of his 12-year career, the 2006 seventh-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds has appeared in 754 games at third base, 133 games at second base, 46 games at shortstop, 39 games at first base, 26 games at DH and one game in left field.

Turner has not played at first base since the 2016 season.

Conceivably, the string of injuries Turner has sustained in recent seasons may play a role in his next deal, although some of them were more or less on the fluke side.

Last year, Turner missed 18 games with a hamstring injury during the first half of September. In 2018, he got hit hard, sitting out 48 games with a broken wrist early in the season, then missing another 11 games with a groin issue in late July. In 2017, he missed 22 games with a hamstring strain.

Nevertheless, he has been one of the most consistent contributors to the team both on offense and defense.

Last season, Turner hit .307/.400/.460, primarily out of the three-hole. Over 135 games in 2019, he slashed .290/.372/.509 with 27 long balls, 24 doubles and 67 RBI. Still, his defensive skills have been decreasing, as made evident by his -0.2 dWAR in 2019 and his -0.1 dWAR in 2020.

Some of the biggest conversations we’ve had so far this winter have surrounded Edwin Rios or Chris Taylor taking over the regular duties at third base for the Dodgers in 2021. In the same breath, having Turner aboard for at least a few seasons could bridge the gap until Top 5 prospect Kody Hoese proves he’s ready for big league action.

In the end, it will undoubtedly be difficult for the Dodgers to see JT suit up for another team. Whatever happens, though, there will certainly be some kind of an offer on the table for his services. Whether it s enough to keep him in Los Angeles remains to be seen.

16 thoughts on “Should Dodgers Consider Giving Justin Turner a 3-Year Deal?

  1. To give JT a 3 year salary would be ludicrous!! I love JT just like every Dodger fan but the fact that he has already lost power in his bat and a half a step in his defense is just holding on to what he “use” to do. He is a valuable commodity in the locker room and a great team mate, but that alone doesn’t win championships. Without the DH rule in the NL his value declines greatly.

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  2. Not sure what to think here. Huge hole at 2nd base now creating a huge hole at 3rd base. And I suspect we have a problem at 1st base. Turner could move around and fill in two of those spots, plus dh when required. We’ve been waiting over 10 years to draft someone to play 1st, 2nd or 3rd, with no luck so I think we probably need to keep turner unless we can sign someone to play one of these 3 positions. For some reason they can’t draft position players and I don’t think there are any on the farm right now.

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  3. Before I could decide about a three year contract I’d like to know what the total contract amount would be. Assuming something reasonable, I have no problem with three years but would prefer two and an option that vests with a certain number of at bats in year two.

    If JT’s defense at third deteriorates badly, I think he’d be fine at first. That, of course, leads to the question of what to do with Muncy. Let’s face it, we need the DH to be permanent and that solves all kinds of problems.

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  4. Speaking with my head instead of my heart I would say no. 2 years and an option year maybe. But without the universal DH it becomes a more difficult question because it is obvious to all that Turner is not an everyday player anymore. His hammy injuries and arthritic knees just do not allow him to perform at that level anymore, and I love the guy. But it is painfully obvious to me that he is no longer that guy. With the DH and being able to platoon with Rios, I am fine with a 2 year deal. otherwise I wish you best of luck.

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  5. 2 year deal at the most! What they should do is trade for Whit Merrifield to place 2nd everyday. Dude is a cheap contract and still has 3 more years on it. Very solid player who makes solid contact, plays a solid 2nd base, and is fast on the base paths. Then trade for Blake Snell. That guy is just nasty! He also is on a cheap deal and has 3 more years on his deal. The Dodgers could easily trade away some top prospects(that’s all they are are prospects) for proven top notch MLB players. A rotation of Buehler, Kershaw, May, Snell, and Urias would be devastating! I could see 3 Championships in a row with that rotation. But before I do any of that, I’m locking up Corey Seager to a long term extension. He, like Kershaw, should be in Dodger blue his whole career. C’mon Andrew, pull the trigger! We don’t need Arenado and his robust contract and his declining bat.

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    1. Well that is not going to happen. You need to read more. They are going to give Lux every opportunity to win the second base job. You have to understand AF’s thought process. He hates giving up his best chips, and unfortunately for fans who want him to trade for guys like Whitfield and Snell, he is not doing that. Snell would require at least two of his top 10 prospects, and most likely Tampa wants a long term solution for catcher and a solid young arm just for starters. Also, although he might have had a bad year, Arenado’s bat is not declining. The guy is a solid hitter. And his glove is far superior to most in the NL. Merrifield is 31 years old. A year older than Arenado. Lux is 23. No way they make a trade for the guy. Two years ago? Maybe. We do not need Snell either. One outstanding season in a 5 year career.

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  6. Brick, I don’t think they would trade for merrifield, I think they hope Lux is going to be another merrifield.
    As far as adding another SP, I haven’t got a clue if they are going to stay with their existing five Kersh, Buehler, Price, Urias, and May, or try to make a trade like you proposed.

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    1. They have 8 pitchers with starting credentials. Urias, Kersh, White, May, Gonsolin, Buehler, Gray, and Price. I doubt any of them are on the trading block. The Dodgers have been linked to every major free agent out there at some point. But the problem is very few actually listen to what Friedman is saying in his interviews. He likes what they have. He is very happy with his core players. He has a lot of trust in the kids that pitched this season. He is not even talking to his own free agents yet. Both Turner and Baez want multiyear deals. No shot for Baez to get one. Turner might merit a two year deal with an option year, but even then he is not going to get anywhere near the money he made on his last contract. If JT goes somewhere else, then AF will look for a replacement. Most likely a RH hitter with some pop. The rotation is not where the weakness is. Everyone knows they are looking to add to the bullpen. And even the 4 pitchers they signed the other day are more or less depth pieces. Nelson can start if he proves he is healthy. That is why he came back. Everyone keeps talking about Bauer. But, here is the problem with that. First off, the money. He is going to want a lot of cash. The Dodgers will have plenty of it come 2022. But this season the biggest money coming off of the books is Turner. They still do not know if they are going to play 162 games. No one knows if fans will be allowed in. Too many unanswered questions. And if there is no DH in the NL this season, Signing Turner becomes iffy because his every day at third days are gone. He would need days off.

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    1. Yeah,so did A few other pitchers. Check his career record. Not like the guy is Greg Maddux. His Cy Young season was two years ago. He pitched in 31 games and only threw 18o.2 innings. That is barely 6 innings a game. He had a sub 2 ERA which is excellent, but he followed that up with a 6-8 season, and ERA over 4 and only 103 innings in 23 games. This year he was 4-2 with a ERA of 3.24, which is his career ERA by the way, pitching 50 innings in 11 games. That is less than 5 innings a start. For the entire post season he was 2-2. He did not win a game in the World Series. In fact he pitched 10 innings in two games. He does strike people out. But he gave up 5 homers this post season, 4 runs and 3 homers in his start against the Yankees. I get he has some serious skills. But item # 1 He would not come cheap. And AF is not giving up a lot of prospects for anyone. Item # 2. Starters are not the problem, it is the bullpen. Snell is 28, you going to push our young kids like May and Urias and Gonsolin,and right behind them, Gray, into the pen for another lefty starter? Doubtful. They have 3 lefty’s in the rotation as it is. Price, Urias and Kersh. with Buehler, May and Gonsolin from the right side with White and Gray behind them. Just who are you willing to trade for a pitcher with 3 years of control left? The money is reasonable, but Tampa’s price would not be. You could start with Lux and May and probably Ruiz, and that would just be for openers.

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    2. He had one good year, 2018 Before then and since he has been pedestrian. His career record is good simply because he won 21 games and lost only 5 his Cy Young year. Otherwise 3 of his 5 seasons he had a losing record.

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  7. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guys they’ve groomed over the years that have become studs. Lux and Ruiz are expendable and so is Gonsolin. Of course Snell isn’t no Maddux, but who is? Dude won over 300 games. Snell has played for a low market team on below average teams. When healthy, which we saw in the World Series, he is just filthy! He’s 27 with 3 more years of control. I would trade Ruiz and Lux in a heartbeat to land Snell. Merrifield could be had for Michael Busch and a couple lower minor leaguers. Resign Turner to a 2 year deal. A lineup of Betts, Seager, Turner, Bellinger, Merrifield, Muncy, Pollock, and Smith would be lethal. A rotation of Buehler, Kershaw, Snell, May, and Urias would dominate! Back to back to back would be on the horizon just like the Kobe and Shaq Lakers!! The time is right now to make it happen. Kody Hoese is close to replace Turner in the near future and Josiah Gray is close, too. With injuries bound to happen on their pitching staff, too much pitching is a wonderful problem to have.

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