Justin Turner is one of seven Dodger free agents this offseason. For the last six seasons, Turner has been the heart and soul of the Dodgers. At just a few days shy of 36 years old, fresh of the Dodgers 2020 title, his free agency presents an interesting scenario for the LA front office.
Do they retain Turner or do they give the promising Edwin Rios the starting job next season?
What if they did both?
What about 2 years, $31.5M to bring back Turner with a club option for a 3rd year? Who says no?
— Brian (@BriRobitaille) November 2, 2020
Turner, a lifetime .292 hitter, can still contribute to the Dodgers and is worth a two-year contract. Offering a one-year contract would be an insult. Offering a three-year contract would be an oversight.
Youngster Edwin Rios had his moments this past season, but championship teams rarely hand over starting roles to 25-year-olds with 139 major league plate appearances.
EDWIN RIOS DOING WHAT HE DOES BEST pic.twitter.com/QvYGsKS2fd
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) October 16, 2020
Signing JT to a two-year deal would give the Dodgers additional time to see if Rios is a legitimate MLB starter. Rios simply hasn’t played enough to determine his long-term viability in the post-Turner future for the Dodgers. There isn’t enough data to support letting JT walk with Rios as the only other option.
The Dodgers can play Turner three or four days a week and spell him with Rios to keep his legs, and hamstrings, fresh. JT hopefully stays healthy and the Dodgers get to evaluate Rios.
Would Turner turn down more lucrative offers elsewhere and accept a two-year deal with the Dodgers?
To make things even more interesting, what if Turner is suspended for part of the 2021 season from the 2020 World Series celebration fallout? Will there be a DH for the NL next year?
At the end of the day, the Dodgers should re-sign Turner for the present and evaluate Rios for the future.