The Los Angeles Dodgers are less than one week away from opening Spring Training camp, yet the club hasn’t addressed their biggest need. The simple and most logical solution would be re-signing Justin Turner, who is the Dodgers’ lone free agent still on the open market.
The Dodgers have long been viewed as the favorite for Turner, who has additionally drawn interest from the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets, among other teams. Amid ongoing negotiations, the Dodgers signed Trevor Bauer to a record-breaking contract.
In doing so they are on track to exceed the luxury tax threshold for the 2021 season, and re-signing Turner would push them even further past the $210 million competitive balance threshold. But that doesn’t appear to be much of a hindrance for the Dodgers.
“The simple answer is no,” answered president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman when asked if signing Bauer impacted the Dodgers’ pursuit of Turner or other players.
“We’re committed to doing everything we can to put together the best roster that we can. Obviously it’s difficult for me to comment on a specific free agent, but I think it’s pretty well documented what we think of J.T. and what he’s meant to this organization. As far as how that’s going to play out, we will see.
“At every turn in the six-plus years that I’ve been here, ownership has been incredibly supportive of doing everything we can to win and to reward the amazing fans that we have. To bring a championship back to L.A. — which had been a long time coming — now their mindset is, ‘Let’s do it again. Let’s flip the switch and have the mindset of repeating.’
“Obviously, the action of this speaks to that. But I think it’s difficult at any one moment in time to look at our payroll and deduce too much from it in that it is a three- to five-year process that we look at. There’s ebbs and flows with that, but the thing that has been constant throughout is winning. That’s where our mindset still is and we’ll see how that plays out.”
Roberts calls Turner top priority
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has publicly made it clear how hopeful he is Turner will be re-signed. “He’s way up there. He’s way up there,” Roberts said of Turner’s place on the list of priorities this offseason.
“I think what Justin does on the field, in the clubhouse, in the community, he’s one of the Dodger greats. He really is. It’s been six years he’s been with the Dodgers, and he’s in that elite company.
“His body of work is really special and unique. But it’s a two-way deal here: it’s the Dodgers and Justin and his family. For me, selfishly, I’ll take him for as long as I can have him.”
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