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Dodgers Rumors: ‘Overwhelming Likelihood’ Justin Turner Returns to LA



There’s little doubt that Justin Turner is the top Dodger on the free agent market this offseason. The now 36-year-old is coming off another quality season in blue where he posted a 140 wRC+ in 42 regular season games. However, it’s mid-December and rumors involving the veteran third baseman have been slow.

Last month, it was reported that the Toronto Blue Jays were connected to the 2020 world champ, but not much has materialized beyond that. With that in mind, baseball insider JP Morosi joined MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show this week where he shared his expectations for Turner this winter.

The interest is still there for the Blue Jays, but I think that the overwhelming likelihood is Turner returns to the Dodgers. He has been revered in that clubhouse for a long time. Yes, he just turned 36 … Turner’s camp is asking right now for a 3-year deal. So that would be playing at ages 36, 37, and 38. I’m not sure he gets that third year unless the Dodgers are convinced that someone else is truly interested at that level of a 3-year deal.

So we’re hardly ready to say that JT’s return to the Dodgers is a done deal here. Morosi also explored how the free agent could work for the Blue Jays, a team in need of veteran presence — particularly in the infield. Still, a return to LA would make much more sense for Turner and the Dodger franchise.

Making It Work

Since current ownership came on board, the Dodgers have refused to hand out long-term deals, particularly to players in their late 30s. This is as much a rule of team president Stan Kasten more than anything. But in the case of Justin Turner, it could be a case where that rule may be broken.

A 3-year deal is not the longest contract in the world, but when we’re looking at a player that would be 38 by the end of it, it’s best to err on the side of caution. And if the club hopes to see what some of the younger players or prospects coming up can do at the big league level, blocking them with an aging veteran could lead to bigger issues down the road.

In all likelihood — as Morosi said — Turner returns to LA. However, it’s important that it’s on a deal that makes sense for both sides.

NEXT: Andrew Friedman Preparing for the Possibility of a Justin Turner Departure

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. Sign Turner not so much for what he will do in the future, but what he has meant for the team in the past. If it takes the extra year, so be it. We know he will be worth the money for the next two years. If year three turns out to be more than he is worth as a player, I’m sure his presence in the club house as a leader and player/coach will be worth it. He deserves to retire a Dodger.

    • I so agree. He is such an awesome presence in the club house, on the field and for the community.
      ????

    • I so agree. He is such an awesome presence in the club house, on the field and for the community.

  2. $40 million spread over 3 years. $13 million signing bonus with annual salaries of $9 million per year. Give him the money, but keep the AAV lower by spreading it over 3 years rather than 2.

  3. I am a huge Turner fan but I am first and foremost a Dodger fan. The Dodgers have been built the only way you can sustain a competitive team. That is by having a strong Farm System and promoting players from it.
    Aging veterans blocking rising talented players is not the way to keep a team competitive. The Dodgers have young guys like Mann, Hoese, Vargas, and on the roster now are Beaty, Muncy, Will Smith, Taylor, and Rios that can play at 3rd. If they do not sign Turner I think the Dodgers should think about moving Seager to 3rd. They have Lux, Amaya and there are several SS available that are better defenders.
    I would sign Turner to an incentive-laden 2 year deal with an option for a 3rd. If the DH is finally instituted in the NL, I hope it is, then JT would be more of an asset. But still, only 2 years as his bat speed is dropping and he has an injury history.

  4. It’s only a matter of time that the Dodgers lose their bench coach to become another teams manager, so maybe Turner’s third year is a transition to Bench Coach. Whom, by the way, could still pinch hit just as Roberts could. That’s why they wear a uniform and not a suit.

  5. Please resign Justin Turner he is a really good person and I believe that my Dodgers owe it to Justin , he has earned to be rewarded for his past dedication to my Dodgers .
    Denny G.

  6. We kept David Freese until he chose to retire. In his 3rd year he could either be a DH or just that right hand bat off the bench. There is no one else I would want to see in a clutch situation (well, maybe Mookie) than JT.

  7. “A 3-year deal is the longest contract in the world, but when we’re looking at a player that would be 38 by the end of it, it’s best to err on the side of caution.” I do believe there is a NOT that is NOT in there…

  8. I totally agree. Just sign Justin Turner. He the MAN. He will make his future replacement at third base better by his presence. He will be a future Dodger coach and possibly Manager. Treat him right. Los Angeles loves him.

  9. One thing is certain, and that is DH or no DH, Turner won’t play in all 162 games if it’s indeed a full season. If not. I wouldn’t believe he plays every game either way.

  10. Give JT a one year, $40 million deal. It’s a “thank you for everything you’ve done for us” gift. After that the Dodgers owe JT nothing, if he still wants to come back after one year, then give him a $1 million deal.

  11. Sign turner to 1 or 2 years maybe a club option for the 3rd year. Then sign Hendriks or the best closer available and another reliever. Dodgers would be done till the trade deadline.

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