Dodgers Rumors: Justin Turner’s Contract Includes Option, Escalators

Several months of needing a third baseman and right-handed bat came to an end Saturday night when Justin Turner announced he agreed to re-sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal is not yet official, and requires a corresponding move on the 40-man roster.

The Dodgers had long been considered the favorite for Turner, who drew interest from the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays at various points throughout the offseason. The Dodgers and Brewers both made contract offers in recent days.

Milwaukee may have been facing an uphill battle, but they reportedly submitted a bid that was competitive to what L.A. had presented to Turner as well. According to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times, the Dodgers’ contract with Turner is for two years with a team option for 2023, and includes a chance at additional earnings for MVP voting:

The deal is worth $34 million guaranteed, including an $8-million signing bonus, with a $14-million club option for a third year, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Escalators based on where Turner finishes in the MVP voting could raise the total value to $52 million over three seasons.

Turner was said to be seeking a four-year contract when free agency began; indications were the Dodgers preferred two years. Despite the stalemate, there remained an overwhelming sense the parties would eventually reach an agreement.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts continued to voice his desire for Turner to be re-signed, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman echoed a similar stance this past week. Friedman also refuted the notion that signing Trevor Bauer was going to prevent the Dodgers from potentially working out an agreement with Turner.

Dodgers poised to have biggest payroll for 2021

Signing Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract pushed the Dodgers past the luxury tax threshold, and Turner’s deal has them facing significant penalties. With what would be an MLB-high $254.7 million payroll, the Dodgers are looking at a 42.5% tax rate on all overages along with having their first pick in this year’s Draft drop 10 spots.

There was speculation prior to agreements with Bauer and Turner that L.A. would be open to trading David Price in effort to shed salary.

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