Why Dodgers May Steer Clear Of Justin Turner

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

Ken Rosenthal shared some news and notes from around the league on Monday, including Justin Turner and how the market is shaping up for him.

Turner has been a fan favorite of Dodger faithful for seven seasons, becoming one of the major faces of the team. He also has a lot to credit the team for as his career was basically revived by the club after struggling to put it together with the New York Mets.

Since joining the Dodgers, Turner completely turned his career around as he slashed .302/.382/.503 with an OPS+ of 139, well above the league average of 100. He’s now a free agent and it appears that he could be seeking a 4-year deal, putting him through his age 40 season, and leaving it up to the Dodgers to decide if he’s worth it.

While four years for the 36-year-old third basemen might be a little too much for teams, Rosenthal reported that he might be willing to consider a two-year deal from the Dodgers or a three-year deal from another team.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers may have plans to move on to another third basemen. Free agent D.J. LeMahieu, has expressed interest in hearing from teams other than his former team, the Yankees, and the Dodgers appear to be one of them.

LeMahieu slashed .316/.373/.457 with an OPS+ of 111 the past six seasons. Keep in mind that four of those seasons were in Colorado with the Rockies.

In Turner’s past six seasons, he slashed .298/.380/.505, no doubt better than what LeMahieu produced.

Also, while it was reported that Turner’s defense might be the reason he won’t get a fourth year, Turner actually outperformed LeMahieu at third base based on fielding percentage.

The two things LeMahieu has over Turner is his versatility – he can play first and second base if needed, and he’s five years younger, at 31.

The Dodgers may be seeing this as LeMahieu being the future and Turner the past, regardless of what Turner has meant to the franchise and that he just helped it win its first World Series since 1988.

If the Dodgers decide to stick with Turner they would be stuck with him at third base only unless the Designated Hitter is applied to the National League; a move which still is not certain this upcoming season.

It’s really a coin toss between these two great players. Turner will probably cost less; but comes with an age concern. LeMahieu will add more depth to the team in a few different positions. But his price tag might be too high.

The Dodgers also take a different route. They could sign Turner and wait for third base prospect Kyle Hoese to develop a little more.

Hoese is ranked as the Dodgers’ third-best prospect and profiles to remain at third base if  he can improve defensively. His ETA for a call up to the Majors is 2022.

If the Dodgers can somehow convince Turner to take a two-year deal, they could have Turner keep the seat warm until Hoese is ready.

These are tough moves to make for any team, but the Dodgers are in a great position to do whatever they choose and not regret the one choice they didn’t make.

The off-season is slowly ticking and teams will have to make moves on these big free agents eventually. But for now, all we can do is wait and come up with the many possible scenarios.

Jacob Cisneros is a writer for Dodgers-LowDown. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @_JacobCisneros.