With five weeks remaining until the scheduled start of 2021 Spring Training, the Los Angeles Dodgers still have some roster questions to address. Most notably at third base, with Justin Turner among the players yet to make a decision in free agency.
Turner, 36, has been a valued member of the Dodgers both on and off the field since signing a Minor League contract with the organization in 2014. Both sides presumably want to extend their relationship, but that will only happen if they can find common ground in negotiations.
Turner is said to be seeking a four-year contract, while the Dodgers reportedly prefer to bring him back on a deal that doesn’t exceed two years. With little to no progress apparently being made as of now, the club has explored possible alternatives at third base.
The Dodgers have been linked to the likes of Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant and Eugenio Suarez, who are all believed to be available in trades. L.A. also can simply fill the void from within, with plenty of players already in the organization capable of playing the hot corner.
If the Dodgers decide to go the free agency route, their top choice to replace Turner at third base reportedly is DJ LeMahieu, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
The Dodgers have internal options to fill the void but likely would seek to acquire a third baseman if Turner signed with another franchise, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Free agent DJ LeMahieu sits atop the list of external options.
LeMahieu is one of the top free agents on the market and has consistently been linked to the Dodgers, in addition to the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.
Despite contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) and also missing time because of a left thumb sprain, LeMahieu led the Yankees last season in batting average (.364), on-base percentage (.421) and total hits (71).
In addition to his elite bat-to-ball skills, LeMahieu can play all over the infield, making him all the more appealing to the Dodgers, who value versatility perhaps more than any organization.
While LeMahieu would be a good fit on paper, he is seeking a contract even longer than Turner in the five-year range. He is also the Yankees’ top priority, who are considered by many the favorites to re-sign him.
Dodgers re-sign Blake Treinen to two-year contract
The Dodgers saw seven players reach free agency the morning after the World Series concluded. While six of them remain on the open market, they recently brought back Blake Treinen on a two-year contract with a team option for the 2023 season.
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