With all the uncertainty that surrounds MLB’s current lockout, there still seems to be a fair amount of speculation across the baseball blogosphere, at least as far as trades and free agent signings go.
At this stage of the game, we have the faintest clue as to what might happen over the coming months. If an agreement is reached, it could be in the waning moments of the offseason, giving clubs very little time to scramble and round out their respective player rosters.
Should things remain unsettled by Opening Day, we could be in store for the first industry strike since 1995.
Seemingly, the Dodgers will be making their own share of moves when the transaction freeze is lifted. The team is in decent shape with position players, but they still have a lot of work to do with the starting rotation and bullpen, especially if Kenley Jansen lands elsewhere.
Corey Seager’s Departure
One of the biggest losses prior to the transaction freeze was Corey Seager’s big move to Texas. Obviously, the Dodgers fared decently when Seager missed time over the last several seasons, but there’s no arguing that the club’s offense was at its peak when Seager was healthy.
And, without Seager catching fire at the perfect time during the 2020 postseason, the outcome could have taken on a completely different narrative.
Regardless, to put the team in a position to contend in the 2021 playoffs, front office boss Andrew Friedman dealt a quartet of reputable prospects — pitcher Josiah Gray, catcher Keibert Ruiz, pitcher Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donavan Casey — to the Washington Nationals for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.
While the jury is still out on the prospects, the Nationals can take their time with the youngsters’ development. In the meantime, Scherzer has landed in New York, and the only thing the Dodgers have left to show for the deal is one more year of service from Turner.
The Future of the Dodgers’ Infield
There has been a lot of chatter about a Turner extension recently, specifically with so much uncertainty surrounding the Los Angeles infield. There always seems to be a hole at second base, and third base could be an issue as Justin Turner’s contract comes to an end in the coming seasons.
While a TTurner contract extension might be on the bottom of the team’s priority list right now, it might be a critical part of solidifying the core for the coming years. There are a few notable infield prospects, including Jacob Amaya, Michael Busch and Miguel Vargas, who could impact the roster in the near future, but there are no guarantees. Signing TTurner to a multi-year extension can provide at least a little stability.
Last year, TTurner was one of the most productive contributors to the Los Angeles offense during the second half of the season. He won his first-career batting title and hit more than 20 homers for the first time ever. His 195 hits led the entire majors, and if his OPS would have been a few ticks higher, he may have snagged his first-ever NL MVP award.
That’s not even mentioning the incredible defensive range he possesses at both middle infield spots.
Nevertheless, Los Angeles fans are clueless where the team stands regarding a 2022 payroll budget. Friedman probably has no idea how the Trevor Bauer situation might unfold, possibly having to payout $32 million in salary without any services in return.
Despite everything, if there’s a transaction that’s high atop Friedman’s current priority list, it should be an extension for Turner.