Justin Turner was a journeyman before the Dodgers and Doug Latta turned him into a star. He bounced around the infield — first base to second to third. Now, with the impending free agency craze for Anthony Rendon, Turner is reportedly willing to move away from his post at the hot corner to accommodate Nationals’ superstar third baseman Anthony Rendon.
In a recent article for The Athletic, Andy McCullough ponders whether or not the Dodgers would be willing to make a move to sign Anthony Rendon and if Justin Turner would be willing to make the move to accommodate him.
"I’ve bounced around [the diamond] my whole career. I don’t care."
If the Dodgers are able to sign All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon, incumbent Justin Turner seems fine with a position move next season, he told @ByMcCullough. Will it happen?https://t.co/pNY8U3I3Ke
— The Athletic LA (@TheAthleticLA) October 17, 2019
Justin Turner Willing to Move from Hot Corner
According to Justin Turner, he has been in a similar position before. Back when Mets’ third baseman Todd Frazier was a hot commodity, Turner was told by the Dodgers’ front office that they were looking intensely at acquiring him:
“They told me they were going to trade for Todd Frazier a couple years ago. I was like, ‘Alright, whatever.’ That’s not my job.”
Since the deal did not come into fruition, Turner has continued to show up when it matters most, playing solid defense and bringing his bat to the table when healthy.
Turner seemed almost apathetic at the possible situation of the Dodgers acquiring Rendon when he was questioned during the NLDS against the Washington Nationals. However, he expressed an overall willingness to ‘bounce around’:
“I’ve bounced around [the diamond] my whole career. I don’t care.”
Turner’s seemingly natural fit would be at first base considering his declining defensive ability that seems to correlate with his age. However, the presence of Max Muncy and the rise of Gavin Lux could crowd out one of the players in a Rendon-to-LA situation, with shortstop Corey Seager being the name with the most banter in the news.
Turner spoke more regarding the situation:
“It’s out of my control. Maybe they’ll call and say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to do. What do you think?’ But I doubt it. It’s not their job to get permission from players. Whatever they want to do is what they want to do.”
Would the Dodgers Sign Rendon?
The narrative surrounding the Dodgers continues to be that they do not sign big money players outside of their own. This narrative has yet to be shaken and with an unnatural defensive fit in Rendon, is there even a chance that the Dodgers pursue him?
The most likely price range for Rendon is in the $30-35 million range in terms of average annual value, but Rendon’s situation is different. He has already expressed an interested in taking a high AAV deal with less years on the tab, which seems to be a dream scenario for an unwilling bidder — in most situations — in Andrew Friedman and company.
Friedman has already expressed a willingness to ‘change the complexion’ of the Dodgers’ roster come 2020:
“As far as a jumping-off point for the offseason to have the returning talent we have, to have the financial flexibility that we have, to have the depth in-house in terms of trade options — I think it gives us a lot of flexibility, and I think everything is on the table.”
The Dodgers will have approximately $119 million allocated to contracts in 2020, according to Spotrac, while not including arbitration figures that are set to rise for numerous players. All in all, though, the Dodgers will have more than enough money to stay under the luxury tax threshold and also sign Anthony Rendon to a deal of his liking. The CBT threshold will rise a significant amount up to $208 million.
While it certainly is not the Dodgers’ rep to sign players like Anthony Rendon and we continue to say ‘this year, we need to make a big move’, there is a legitimate chance that this comes to fruition. The Dodgers first-round exit and two World Series losses in 2017 and 2018 should provide the necessary motivation for Friedman to make the big move.