Justin Turner Remains Dave Roberts’ Priority As Dodgers Search For Right-Handed Bat

Early into the offseason Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman identified the bullpen and a right-handed hitting position player as areas of focus.

The team then went out and completed a trade for Corey Knebel, re-signed Jimmy Nelson and Blake Treinen, and reunited with Brandon Morrow and Brock Stewart on Minor League contracts. L.A. also signed Tommy Kahnle, but he likely won’t be available to pitch until the 2022 season.

On the position player side, the Dodgers have most prominently been linked to eventually re-signing Justin Turner. However, he also has drawn interest from the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays, among other teams.

As the Dodgers have yet to sign a right-handed hitter, manager Dave Roberts reiterated his top choice is Turner, via MLB Network Radio:

“We talked at the beginning of the winter of getting a right-handed bat. That’s something that we’re still trying to target. My wish list certainly is Justin. I’m one of his biggest advocates. What he does for me and the ball club speaks for itself. But again, both sides have got to kind of work this thing out to make a deal.”

Roberts previously voiced his hope that Turner would be re-signed this winter and placed him at the top of the list of priorities. “He’s way up there. He’s way up there,” Roberts said in December.

“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.”

Dodgers’ options if Turner isn’t re-signed

Should L.A. fail to bring Turner back, they could quickly pivot to Edwin Rios, who gained experience at third base last season. However, that would still leave a clear need for a right-handed bat and there still are some questions over Rios’ ability to play every day.

Much more unlikely though still plausible would be a trade with the Chicago Cubs for Kris Bryant, or acquiring Eugenio Suarez from the Cincinnati Reds.

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