With the Los Angeles Dodgers still needing a third baseman and right-handed bat for their lineup, the most logical solution would appear to be re-signing Justin Turner, who inexplicably remains a free agent with the start of Spring Training one week away.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has openly stated how much he would like for Turner to return, going so far as to call it his top priority for the team. “I think what Justin does on the field, in the clubhouse, in the community, he’s one of the Dodger greats,” Roberts said in December.
“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.”
Despite the Dodgers’ long-held interest in re-signing Turner, the sides have seemingly remained apart on contract terms. All the while he’s drawn interest from the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays at various points in the offseason.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the New York Mets now have interest in Turner as well:
Mets interested in free-agent 3B Justin Turner, but parties not matching up on years/dollars, sources tell @TheAthletic. NYM also not sure what J.D. Davis might bring in a trade. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio intrigued by Turner as well. Dodgers (2-year deal?) remain best bet.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 9, 2021
The Mets and Turner share history, as he played four seasons with the team prior to being non-tendered after the 2013 campaign. That wound up paving the way for Turner to join the Dodgers on a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to Spring Training in February 2014.
He again became a free agent after the 2016 season and remained with the Dodgers on a four-year, $64 million contract.
What are options for the Dodgers if they don’t re-sign Turner?
Should L.A. fail to bring back Turner, they presumably would look to the trade market to address third base. The Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant has been mentioned as a possibility, though he is in the final year of team control.
Another potential target could be Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who is under contract through the 2025 season, with that year being a team option.
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