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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Fully Expects Justin Turner in Opening Day Lineup for LA



On a day where the Dodgers are expected to introduce Trevor Bauer to the media, rumors involving free agent Justin Turner have bordered on non-existent. The heart and soul for the LA ballclub remains on the free agent market, and with that, a glaring hole at third base becomes more prominent as the team is set to open camp at Camelback Ranch next week.

Still, most insiders and experts fully believe that JT will be back with LA before the bell rings. Including manager Dave Roberts… and it doesn’t get more insider than that. Doc caught up with SportsNet LA on Wednesday to discuss the team heading into spring training. Moreover, he shared his expectations for his former All-Star third baseman.

I don’t know if it’s expectation or maybe my heart, my hope is bleeding in, but I’m expecting him to be our third baseman. I know how much he loves Los Angeles, the Dodgers, the fans, and that love is reciprocated by the organization. But, when you’re talking about business — and he and Kourtney, his wife are going through this — and I hope something comes to a deal because I know that we all value him and he was meant to be a Dodger and I’d love to see that happen.

While the Dodgers have been linked to big third base names all offseason long, there never seemed to be much substance behind the rumors. We always knew that Colorado wouldn’t trade Nolan Arenado in division to LA. We knew that DJ LeMahieu always wanted to return to the New York Yankees. And we know that Justin Turner wants to return to LA.

But baseball is a cruel business sometimes.

Reports say that Turner is seeking a 4-year to leave Los Angeles. However, he could be open to something a bit shorter to remain with the club. At 36-years-old, he’s looking for his last big deal before father time says he can’t play anymore. And with the Dodgers, he’s honestly earned that deal.

Without JT, the club would rely on a rotation of unproven commodities at the hot corner in 2021. Roberts has mentioned Edwin Rios as an option in the past. Matt Beaty was refining his 3B skills last spring training in an effort to pick up more at-bats during the season. Max Muncy, as much as he hates it, could suit up at the position, but that opens a hole at first base, which is less likely. Even Chris Taylor could see time at third, but his services as a utility man will be more important after the club let Enrique Hernandez walk this offseason.

Everything about Justin Turner and the Dodgers makes sense. Bring him home.

NEXT: Dodgers Reportedly in on Marlins’ Garrett Cooper

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Turner is the heart and soul of the Dodgers. I fully expect the Dodgers to resign him for a minimum 2 years, in the neighborhood of 15-18mil/yr. Both the Dodgers and Turner owe it to themselves to work this out and finish his career in LA.

  2. Clint, you need to change your bio. Verdugo has been gone for a year now!

    But seriously, if the Dodgers don’t re-sign Turner and try to fill the hole “in house” they go into 2021 with a weaker lineup than in 2020. It’s hard to imagine they think that is a good idea. If the league is really going to deaden the ball the Dodgers need an average and contact guy. Like Turner.

    • Rainbirdmuse, without the DH, the offense won’t be as formidable as it was in 2020. Great point ya made about trying to go only ‘in house’ for 3B. Without the DH, the one guy who suffers most is Barnes. In 2020 he batted 9th without a pitcher batting and thus got pitched to with better pitches to hit because Betts was hitting behind him in the leadoff spot. Now with no DH in play. Barnes bats 8th in front of the pitcher having to bat. Those results will be somewhat different for him as a result compared to last year.

        • While that may be true, opponents knowing the pitcher is due up next will walk Barnes intentionally because more often than not if there are 2 outs the pitcher batting kills the inning. And let’s not forget that teams know how tough it will be for pitchers having to bat after over a year away from the batters box.

      • What about Kiebert Ruiz? Hes the next catcher up. That gives Barnes the opportunity to get in elsewhere. Will Smith is also the real deal. He’s no chump. How about Koedy Hoese? He might be a year away but he’s next up. Dodgers have a solid minor league system that continuously provides depth and home grown talent that eventually become all star type talent. If JT wants 4 yrs, that’s not realistic. 3 yrs maybe with a team option for the third. Our you really want to treat him with appreciation give him 4 yrs but team options yr 3 and 4. JTs still an above average contact hitter. That has huge value. But it’s not like we dont have options. Yes its gonna be in house, but the Dodgers have the necessary depth and incoming prospects to justify not resigning Turner.

  3. Hey DR, I’m with you 100% on this one. Now make an appointment with AF for an in person meeting. Look him in the eye, and say I WANT JT BACK! Don’t be iffy about it. You’re the manager of this team. AF is supposed to listen to you. There are times where you need to step up, and be insistent.

  4. I believe that it would be best for the Dodgers to let Turner go. In any case, at this stage he won’t get more than 2 years from any team.

    • I think a 4 year deal is too long, but saying the Dodgers are better off letting him I believe is ridiculous. At least foe 2 years. He deserves to lace em up until we don’t win the World Series again. Turner ranks up there with Kirk Gibson. He would be with Gibson if our pitching didn’t fall apart against the Astros.

  5. It should not be about the years, it should be about how much money the rest of his expected major league career is worth. Say it is worth 40 million, whatever. Rather than going 10, 10, 10, 10, go for a lower average for the luxury tax. Go 10, 8, 6, 4, 4, 4, 2,2. 8 years at 40 million instead of 4 years. Now you spread it out and eat to out years, or have him coach in the organization. AAV would be lower.

    • John I agree with you. That’s what they did with Chasr Utley. Maybe your 8 yr idea is a little long but surely a 4 yr contract spreads it out some.

  6. We’re not going to get JT back on a two year contract…three should bring him back though. Structure the money any way that is acceptable to both parties and plan on him DH-ing the latter part of his contract. The players union will bring us the DH in their next round of negotiations. I think he’s productive enough to make that pay especially when you consider what we would have to give up in prospects to replace him. We need his right handed bat and a bridge to prospects who might be able to replace him. Rios is ready to spell JT as needed.

  7. Justin Turner is my favorite player for so many reasons! He is the real leader and the heart of the Dodgers. He has life experiences compliments of his age. He never gives up! He and his wife have done so much for Los Angeles and those in need

  8. Kody Hoese is the long term answer at 3rd base. He looks like a top prospect. With 4 years of college ball a 2 years in the minors he could easily be ready next year. JT has been the leader of this team and produces in the clutch. There is not room for much sentiment in baseball contacts, so we will see. Signing Cooper could bridge the gap if Turner leaves. I do not see them taking on Bryant for the short term.

  9. Turner is easily one of my favorite Dodgers ever! I know it’s a business but Turner has been the heart and soul of this lineup. He deserves a chance to repeat!

  10. Thumbs up on the two most recent trades! We gave quality and got same in return and netted one ML roster spot as well. Getting a RH power hitting 3b from Oakland ranked #5 in their system is a good deal, as is a hard throwing LHP from Miami. Best guess is we sign Turner for 3 years and lobby for the DH sooner rather than later.

  11. HELLO THERE ::Dodgers You really need to signed JT and give him the 4 years he wants He is a leader a great man and the team looks up to him. If not give him 2 years with options after 2 years give him the options of 2 more years at a good price. I want JT to be a dodger now NOW

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