Dodgers, Justin Turner A Match Made In Heaven
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface the Winter Meetings were relatively uneventful for the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, the club did address a significant need in their rotation by re-signing Rich Hill to a three-year contract.

Over the ensuing the days the Dodgers were connected to Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner, eventually coming to terms with both free agents. On Friday, the Dodgers formally announced the re-signing of Turner to a four-year contract.

His contract, valued at $64 million, includes backloaded salaries and a $4 million signing bonus. The terms in Turner’s deal is a win for both sides.

For one, the Dodgers retain one of the best two-way third basemen in an offseason where there are few suitable alternatives.

Had Turner departed, the Dodgers likely would’ve explored the trade market for a replacement, given that the next-best free agent at the position is Luis Valbuena.

In order to acquire Todd Frazier or Yangervis Solarte — two available but lesser players, the Dodgers would have traded valuable prospects in addition to suffering a drop-off in talent.

Turner posted career highs in nearly every category in 2016, including fWAR (5.6), ISO (.218), home runs (27) and RBIs (79).

On the defensive side, the Southern California native ranked near the top in UZR/150 (17.2) and Defensive Runs Saved (7). To no surprise, Turner was a finalist for the National League Gold Glove Award at the hot corner — though Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies ultimately won the honor.

From Turner’s perspective, he is projected to become the fifth-highest-paid player among third basemen in terms of annual average salary — and deservedly so.

While he reportedly sought a five-year deal at the outset of free agency, settling at four with an AAV of $16 million is a fair compromise. It appears to be a bargain for the Dodgers to some sense, but Turner’s market was limited and he seemingly preferred to remain in Los Angeles.

According to FanGraphs, Turner accumulated roughly $11.3 million since 2012 and will shatter that mark during the 2017 season alone with his new salary.

Retaining the three major internal free agents (Hill, Jansen, Turner) appeared highly unlikely for the Dodgers a few weeks ago given the luxury tax situation, but they were the necessary moves to make for a team that was two wins away from reaching the World Series in 2016.

With most of the heavy lifting now complete, the front office can begin to look for an upgrade at second base with their many trade chips, as well as finding a set-up man for Jansen.

There’s also the possibility for more trades, whether it’s clearing the outfield and starting pitching logjams or tinkering with the fringes of the 40-man roster.