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Dodgers: Is There A 4-Year Deal Out There for Justin Turner?



On Monday, rumors swirled involving long-time Dodger and current free agent Justin Turner’s asking price this offseason. Right off the bat, fans had to do a double-take after seeing that the 36-year-old was reportedly seeking a 4-year deal. The Dodgers countered with 2 years.

Again, JT is 36.

Despite his age, the veteran remains one of the elite hitters in the game. Since 2018, Turner has posted a 142 wRC+ over 280 regular season games. However, in each season he’s missed time with a myriad of injuries limiting his games played. Still — even while off and on injured — the red dream provides perhaps his greatest value to the Dodgers in his clubhouse presence and leadership.

Something that likely won’t carry over as well with a different ballclub.

Related: Expert Says “Overwhelming Likelihood” Justin Turner Returns to LA

Turner has been a Dodger for 7 seasons, riding the highs and lows along the way. But importantly, he did it with these guys, not other guys. 

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So we wonder what value a 36-year-old third baseman with declining mobility has outside of Los Angeles. And we wonder, is there any team out there truly willing to pay him through his age 40 season?

Last offseason, veteran third baseman and former AL MVP Josh Donaldson secured a 4-year, $92 million deal with the Twins as a 34-year-old free agent. In the past, designated hitter Victor Martinez signed a 4-year deal with the Tigers as a 35-year-old.

But no major leaguer has ever inked a 4-year contract as a 36-year-old.

Hall of Famer Derek Jeter came close, signing a 3-year deal with the Yankees as a 36-year-old in 2011. And noted cheater Carlos Beltran also got a 3-year deal with New York at 36 (so he could refine his cheating). So Justin Turner is stepping into rarified air with his asking price. 

The problem is, he’s not going to get it.

At best, JT might ink a 3-year deal — perhaps with LA, perhaps with Toronto, who he’s been linked to this winter — but more likely 2 years with an option (team or mutual) gets him playing anywhere he wants.

Considering the strong likelihood that the universal DH will be in place by the 2022 season — if there’s a 2022 season at all — the Dodgers could likely bite the bullet in retaining a living LA legend for two or three more seasons with the expectation of phasing him into a DH/utility role. But would that put the club in the best position to continue its run of excellence in the National League?

NEXT: Examining Internal Third Baseman Options for the 2021 Season

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.

Comments

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      • Good question. I’d say the first two years as player only, then transition to player coach and if necessary, create a new coaching position. My point is JT is great to have in the clubhouse. I also believe he wants to remain in L.A.

  1. The DH situation still has yet to be identified for 2021 as well. And as I might have mentioned before, his being re-signed may hinge upon whether the DH remains in the NL or not.

  2. Someone would have to consider him to be the missing piece that will push them over the edge to secure a four year deal. add in all the team that are scared to spend and cutting payroll, I dont see a 4 yr deal for him. Its a really tough sell for a guy entering his age 36 season who has never driven in more than 90 runs, hit more than 27 HRs, and will miss games. most 38 yr old and 39 yr old seasons can get quite ugly as well.

    I hope the Dodgers and JT can work something out, I would love to see JT get a chance to run it back and retire a Dodger. I’m no GM by any stretch of the imagination, but a two year deal with a non guaranteed third seems pretty fair. Of course there is the matter of how much total dollars you commit to that as well.

    • And JT has to know that just maybe that 4 year deal at age 36 just isn’t to realistic during this tough and uncertain time. It all comes down to how much Turner would really like to return to Dodgers or is that 4 year deal with obviously more money more important to him. From posts I read a 2 year deal with a 3rd year option seems very fair at this stage of the game.

      • I concur. A 2 year incentive-laden deal with a 3rd year option with a lower buyout is the best for both. If a player wants a mega deal make it an incentive-laden deal! I dislike high $ contracts without goals for the player to reach. If a player has a bad year they should not be paid the same amount. Look at the Pujos deal they have been paying him superstar money the last 3-4 years for mediocre performance and that deal & Moreno’s other bad decisions have handicapped the team from getting in the playoffs.
        Turner has been a great Dodger. At his age and fragility asking for a 4 year deal is not reasonable. Look at his stats he is beginning to not be able to get his bat around for high mph fastballs. Father Time is undefeated especially with professional athletes.

  3. Agree with the article, no one is going to give him four years. The ideal scenario that fits nicely is 2 yrs, opt for 3rd —and the NL has a DH.

  4. This rumor is probably either made up or leaked bh his agent to trg tk negotiate for the third yr guaranteed. Everyone seems to think a 2 yr w an option for a third is fair. AF might get more creative than that but I think it’s safe to say AF wants JT and JT wants to stay in LA so this is all just posturing. Expect the deal to be done soon.

  5. Sentiment does not win championships. Let him go elseware. The Yankees traded Babe Ruth when his talents diminished as did the Braves did with Hank Aaron.

  6. Build Justin Turners contract to look like year1- 8 million, year2- 6 Million, year3- 2 million and year4- 1.5 Million and line it with incentives earn more money along way! Andrew you need to sign the RED Turn 2! Also Trade or Purchase a BIG right handed BAT!

  7. I wonder if JT has a sense LA would move on and is now asking for 4 years to put the blame of LA for not returning. I cannot believe that JT is stupid and knows a 4 year deal is out of the realm of possible, and has employed such to get LA to commit to a two year deal. I think LA wants a one year with an 2nd year option which allows them to wait on the possible DH next year to give JT another 2 as a DH. Otherwise, getting DJLM is a strong move and why JT hasn’t gotten a deal in LA or elsewhere for 4 years and won’t.

    • I agree with the idea that JT (or his agent) really want a 3 year deal. Most organizations will give a 2 year deal, JT and his agent are letting press know they want a 4 year deal…which means he’ll settle for a 3 year deal which is what he wanted in the first place

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