The 2016 MLB season may be over tonight between the Cubs and the Indians, but this doesn’t mean that the Dodgers are sitting back and relaxing in their offices. Baseball never stops. Now the attention is focused on the offseason, and the winter meetings are almost a month away.
The Dodgers cannot lay low this winter, as many of their top players will be free agents. I’m going to focus on one specific player that the Dodgers need to go all in for, and that is Justin Turner.
In his time as a Dodger, Turner has established himself as a fan favorite within the Dodger community. His nickname is “The Red Dream” and he takes pretend selfies with Adrian Gonzalez if either of them hit a home run. How do you not get a smile on your face when you see that?
As well as being the jolly red bearded-man we all love see, Turner, since joining the Dodgers in 2014, has been easily the Dodgers best hitter. Turner, interestingly, signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers and was invited to spring training back in February.
Turner first got to play because of the injuries to Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe, and exploded, averaging .340 batting average with 7 home runs and 43 RBI’s in just 109 games. Turner in 2015 avoided salary arbitration signing a one year 2.5 million dollar deal, and then went on to hit .294 with 16 home runs and 60 RBI’s. Pretty casual, right? (Just kidding.) Turner signed another one-year deal to avoid arbitration for five million dollars, and hit .275 with 27 home runs.
Turner carries his success as a Dodger into the playoffs as well. He has had a career .375 average in the playoffs with 12 RBI’s. Some highlights include Turner’s doubles against the Mets last year, his home run against the Nationals in Game One, and his two RBI triple in the deciding Game 5. Remember all of that? I do.
It is time to stop handing Turner little one-year deals. The Dodgers need to pay that man! Turner deserves a multiyear deal. How bout 20 million dollars per year for four years? I’d do that in a heartbeat.
Just in case you were thinking that there are better (perhaps cheaper) options than Turner, you’re wrong.
There are five third baseman free agents this winter.
- Yunel Escobar
- Aaron Hill
- Ruben Tejada
- Luis Valbuena
- Justin Turner
Yunel Escobar is 34 and had good numbers on a bad Angels team, so he will most likely seek a lot of money, but his age is a concern.
Hill is 35 years old, making him older than Escobar, and significantly declined this year, averaging .218 with Boston after he was traded to them in the middle of the season.
Ruben Tejada was on the wrong end of the Chase Utley slide last postseason, and hasn’t been the same since the injury. The Mets placed Tejada on waivers, then was signed by the Cardinals, became a free agent, signed with the Giants, and then was designated for assignment to make room for Matt Cain. Tejada is only 27, but is a very risky sign.
Luis Valbuena hasn’t been enough consistent playing time to call him a starter.
And then there’s Justin Turner, the hometown kid from Long Beach.
If the Dodgers choose to let Turner walk and do not sign anyone, that puts them in a big hole. Does Corey Seager move to third base? Does Howie Kendrick move somewhere? Does not feel ideal at all. There also isn’t a Dodger third baseman prospect that can come up in the relative future.
There isn’t a salary cap in baseball. The Dodgers can’t get cheap here. Turner is only 31 years old and still has many good years left. Not to mention, he is quietly one of the more underrated players in baseball.
Pay this man! He brings the locker room together, and I believe that the way Justin Turner goes, so do the Dodgers. If Turner goes in free agency, so do the Dodgers chances to win a World Series.