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Dodgers: Could Chicago’s Kris Bryant Replace Justin Turner in LA?

The Cubs are looking to shed payroll.



Now, this might not be the most popular thought, but it is possible that the Dodgers might need to replace free agent Justin Turner in the lineup. With the DH probably not happening in the National League in 2021, would it be surprising if an American League team paid more to Turner than LA might?

Personally, I want JT back with the Dodgers but it is not my money to spend. So, if the club loses JT, who could replace him at third base?

The Dodgers have left-hand hitting slugger Edwin Rios as a candidate but we already know Andrew Friedman is interested in acquiring a right handed bat. Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs is known to be available so we’ll take a look at how he might fit in.

Some History

Kris Bryant was a huge prospect who came up quickly through the Cubs farm system and helped them clinch their first World Series win in 108 years back in 2016. He won the NL Most Valuable Player award that same year. From 2015 through 2019 he was one of the better players in baseball as he slashed .284/.385/.516 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with an OPS of .901 and an OPS+ of 137. He also averaged 28 home runs per season and played league average defense at third base. The Cubs also used him in the outfield and a little bit at first base. Notably, he did miss a lot of time in 2018 with a shoulder injury.

The 2020 Disaster

If anyone had an awful 2020 it was Kris Bryant. Here are his ailments just in 2020:

  • Brief COVID-19 scare
  • Sprained wrist
  • Sprained finger
  • Back issues
  • Elbow issues
  • Left oblique injury

That is just for a 60 game season. On the field he ended up just playing in 34 games, hitting only 4 home runs and slashing .206/.293/.351. Ouch all the way around, but it is a small sample size.

Trade Rumors

It sounds like the Cubs are ready to trade all their potential 2021 free agents or anyone on a long-term and expensive contract. Kris Bryant is one of those potential free agents who made $18.6M in arbitration. The Cubs must tender a contract to Bryant that is at least 80% of his previous $18.6M contract or he becomes a free agent. Any team that trades for him before the contract tender deadline of December 2, 2020 would also need to offer him a contract or lose him to free agency.

I feel that if the Cubs cannot trade him by December 2nd that he will not be offered a contract. Even with a horrible year, he will probably make at least $19-20M in 2021.

Bounce Back Candidate

With Bryant’s history before 2020 being so strong he would seem to a big bounce-back candidate. We also documented his injuries which could continue to plague him. Some of Bryant’s advanced metrics were horrible but they could be attributed to his injuries. Obviously, teams have to weigh these factors in determining if Bryant is worth a contract around $20M in 2021. Not only the money but putting pieces together to make a trade. It will be very interesting over the next two weeks to see what teams actually think about Bryant.

Does Bryant Fit With The Dodgers?

Remembering that Andrew Friedman is on record for wanting a right handed bat could Kris Bryant fit in with the Dodgers? If Justin Turner signs with another team then it becomes an easier question to answer. What if JT is back with the Dodgers? Well, Bryant is versatile as he plays the corners on the infield and the outfield. However, the Dodgers aren’t going to trade prospects and pay him $20M to be a utility player. If Bryant were to be non-tendered by the Cubs then there would be some type of bidding war for him. It really could be interesting this winter.

Final Thoughts

Like most Dodgers fans I want Justin Turner to return but it cannot be at any cost. If JT does move on then I wouldn’t mind a one year look at Kris Bryant to see if he can bounce back. I believe there is a decent chance he does bounce back. The offseason is a fun time to speculate and take a look at the options. I doubt if the Dodgers get Bryant but you never know with Andrew Friedman.

NEXT: Could the Dodgers Trade for a Different Cubs’ Star?

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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  1. It doesn’t make sense to send the Cubs enough of a prospect return to make it worth their while.If Turner leaves – and it really seems unlikely that any other team is going to value him more than the Dodgers do at this point – then it would make as more sense to promote from within. Bryant is no Lindor. And I really don’t think they’ll trade for Lindor either.

  2. Agree with you, Rainbirdmuse. Dodgers have a wealth of talent, and don’t need another blockbuster deal to stay in contention. We’re in a process of continual building, so we need our farm guys to replace aging players. Spend the money in retaining franchise, homegrown players and solidifying the bullpen.

      • Not enough said. Kris Bryant is younger and that is about it. JT made 65 million the last five years. I hope he makes a decision that isn’t solely about the money.

      • Kris Bryant hit 11 home runs last year. He hit 31 two years ago during a full 162 game season. The year he got the MVP he batted 296, which is less than Turner batted last year. He didn’t deserve the MVP. Turner’s 307 BA is higher than any BA Bryant has ever posted in his career. In fact, Turner has batted over 300 in 3 out of the last 4 years. The other year he batted 290 about the same as your MVP Bryant. Is JT too old? Look at the last four years of his career. Performance numbers trump the age number. Bryant’s MVP came in his 2nd year. He has been trending downward ever since. The old man JT is trending upward.

      • kris bryant was the weakest mvp i can remember. he can’t throw straight and doesn’t know what clutch means. rally killer is his middle name. i’ll take turner….any day!

  3. Interesting thoughts Tim. Lots of if’s. We all want Turner back but he will be 36 this month and has a history of small injuries. IF the National League decides to have a Dh this year that would make Turner more valuable and Rios, Beaty, Muncy, and Will Smith can platoon there.
    Another question is IF the Dodgers see Seager at SS for his career or at 3rd base? Do they see Lux at 2nd in the Future or at SS? What about other Minor League players? What about Estevez or Mann & others? Lots of Questions and IF’s….
    Bryant has loads of talent but IF the Dodgers have decided internally to extend Seager this year and Buehler, Bellinger, and Urias in years after then is there room for Bryant or any of the other players on many people’s wish list like Bryant, Lindor, LeMahieu, etc?

  4. No to Lindor, no to Arenado, no to Bryant. No to any major trade which gives up hot prospects. The Hot Stove League is supposed to provide us with warm comfort not give us excessive heat. Guess certain writers need something to write about but connecting every available big name ball player with the Dodgers gets a bit tiresome after a while. Lindor for Lux? If that’s hot and a third baseman is needed in the near future why not Lux at short and Seager at 3rd? Best bet is in the free agent pitcher arena, a starter and or reliever- i.e. no prospects for a short term name. I just have a feeling Price will not be that third starter performer but maybe May, Gonsolin or especially Urias could and will step up so that leaves concentration on relievers

    • Lux is overhyped and overrated. He is obviously not ready for the majors. His defense is not good, and it´s not going to get better, he´s been trying for 3-4 years, and nothing. His offense has barely been better than Chris Davis in 2 short seasons- 45 games- .203/5/13. Pathetic. he had an entire offseason to correct that. Get rid of him and get a quality arm(Josh Hader) for him. I can almost guarantee that we will make a blockbuster this year. We just don´t know who, a pitcher, a right handed bat(Friedman´s quote), or two quality relievers(also Friedman´s quote). May and Gonsolin need to be sent to the bullpen, they are not ready for the rotation. May´s advanced stats revealed he was not as good as we thought, and Gonsolin, after his first 5 starts messed up his last 5 and fucked up in the playoffs. They are not ready.

      • Lux is not a has been. He’s a never was. He should have been traded last off-season when everyone but me thought he was the cat’s meow. I was never sold on him. Minor league numbers need to be backed up with MLB performance. Now he has been revealed to everyone as a non–performing, prima Donna, with a real attitude problem. His has trade value has fallen off a cliff. Right now, Lux and $1 will get you a soda pop. You may as well give him one year to straighten up, or else dump him for whatever you can get for him.

        • agree with ya except lux might just turn into a phenom. i’d try for lemahieu and let lux learn the ropes because right now….he’s a mile from earning a spot on the starting lineup of the world champions.

      • all true but lux did demolish minor league pitching. he’s cheap and has potential. let’s fill the gap with lemahieu till lux is major league ready.

  5. Dodgers have a pipeline of pitchers coming up. I don’t know why there’s so much hype for Gosselin.

    Trade Lux, Gosselin, and a proven bat for a starting pitcher. Hopefully Justin Turner re-signs if offered a 2 year contract. Otherwise, Dodgers should go for Lindor, Arenado, or Bryant in that order.

  6. A decision on the DH staying or not in the NL needs to take b place first and why MLB hasn’t decided on this yet is beyond me. We saw how the DH benefited the Dodgers in 2020. It could be a no brsin then to re-sign JT because a use we could keep his legs fresh by allowing him to be in linup as a DH. It also allows others a day off while still having their bat in the lineup.

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