Trea Turner made his first All-Star team this season and has become one of the best shortstops in baseball, but now in joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, he will be deferring to Corey Seager.
Manager Dave Roberts said Turner will primarily play second base in L.A. and occasionally slide over to shortstop to give Seager time off. “He embraced it,” Roberts said of Turner.
“Obviously, he sees himself as a shortstop, as he should, but understanding our roster, second base certainly makes sense to him. He understands it gives us the best chance to win a championship.”
Turner knows how talented the Dodgers roster is, so his focus is simply on assimilating with the group as they try to repeat as World Series champions.
“I thought a lot of things that everybody thought. Just curious,” Turner said of his initial reaction to joining the Dodgers, who clearly have Seager entrenched at shortstop. “But I felt pretty early on the move was to go to second base. I’m just trying to fit in here.
“These guys are unbelievable. You look up and down the lineup, you’ve got All-Stars, MVPs, guys that have done it in the postseason. So you just try to slide in where you can and contribute where you can. If that’s second, short or wherever it may be, it is.
“I think it’s going to be mostly second, and that’s good. I just like playing every day. I like competing and just want to learn my role, learn my job, and contribute as much as I can and like I said, just fit in.”
Roberts and Turner had early conversations to discuss where the versatile infielder might play as he also has experience in center field, which could be beneficial to the Dodgers because of Cody Bellinger’s season-long slump and Mookie Betts’ hip injury.
However, Roberts said the main focus of those discussions was to welcome him to the team and make sure he was comfortable.
“I got a chance to talk to him and Andrew (Friedman) got a chance to talk to him. Saw some of his teammates, some coaches. Basically just asking him his preference on the defensive side, knowing that obviously, we view him as a premier shortstop and superstar player in the game, but we value Corey at shortstop,” Roberts said.
“Trea’s potential versatility with his athleticism allows for some different things, so his preference and thought was to stay on the dirt, which made complete sense to me.”
The Dodgers also now have two players who prefer to lead off in Turner and Betts, so Roberts will need to juggle the lineup and make sure everyone is happy with their role.
“Now you’re talking about the batting order, and it’s talking to some guys, figuring out where they’re comfortable,” Roberts said.
“I want to make sure Trea is comfortable. This is something different for him as far as the trade, and getting him comfortable is really important for him and the Dodgers.”
Roberts later indicated Turner would bat leadoff for the foreseeable future, with Betts slotting in third.
Taylor’s role after Turner’s arrival
With the addition of Turner, the Dodgers will need to use Chris Taylor in more of a utility role, as the fellow 2021 All-Star is having his best season yet and taking him off the field would only hurt the team.
“I think Chris will be in some center field, some left field, and we’re going to get him taking balls at third base as well,” Roberts said.
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