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Dodgers Still Considering Marcus Semien if Justin Turner Departs Via Free Agency, per Reports

This has to be the week something happens, right?



The Dodgers remain without a third baseman for the 2021 season. Justin Turner — a top third baseman — remains on the free agent market. This seems like an easy match made in blue heaven, but we’re now entering the third week of January and rumors of any deal are silent.

Throughout the offseason, it’s seemed like the two sides would come together on an agreement sooner or later. However, with LA’s failed pursuit of two-time batting champion DJ LeMahieu in mind, it could be that the Dodgers and Turner are further apart in negotiations than previously expected. Particularly with the 36-year-old Turner seeking a 4-year pact and the club offering closer to 2 years.

Now, according to The Athletic, the Dodgers continue to leave their options open. Moreover, MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal is saying that free agent shortstop Marcus Semien is high on LA’s list of alternatives.

Semien, 30, would play third base or multiple positions for the Dodgers rather than displace Corey Seager at shortstop, though if he signed a multi-year deal he might be an option to return to short in 2022 if Seager departed as a free agent.

The fit wouldn’t be overly natural, but the former Gold Glove runner up as a shortstop has played some third base in his big league career. In 50 games over 2013 and 2014, the infielder committed 13 errors in 134 chances, which is less than ideal. Meanwhile, for the people that consistently ask to see Corey Seager moved to third base, just stop. He won’t do it. The World Series MVP staunchly considers himself a shortstop at this point in his career and is looking to prove critics wrong in 2021.

Related: Dave Roberts Talks Corey Seager and the Chip on His Shoulder

If the Dodgers go the Semien route, they pick up a potentially potent bat for the middle of the order. He finished third in MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Trashtro star Alex Bregman in 2019. That season, he posted a .285/.369/.522 triple slash line with 33 home runs and a 137 wRC+. However, in 2020 he fell back to earth, posting below league average numbers which are more in line with his career.

The short version? His 2019 may have been an outlier on the back of his baseball card.

Final Thoughts

If the Dodgers wish to go with more athletism on the roster, Semien would be a solid pick up. But if a proven clubhouse leader with still elite bat-to-ball skills is preferred, Justin Turner is the better route. Even at 36 years old.

Pitchers and catchers are set to report to spring training in about a month. But the longer JT is out on the market, the more awkward a return starts to feel.

NEXT: Should the Dodgers Consider a Clayton Kershaw Extension Before Corey Seager?

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. Free Agent signings and trades have been slow to materialize. This is probably because everyone involved in Baseball lost revenue in 2020 and 2021 does not look to be a huge improvement. Plus there is wide speculation there will be a baseball strike in 2022. None of the teams are using to fill their rosters with large financial obligations when they lost a lot of money in 2020.
    Negations are about the business of baseball. Turner knows he is asking for an unrealistic contract length. If a team is willing to give him the deal I am sure he will jump on it or leverage it to get the Dodgers to match it. I doubt the Dodgers will go more than a 2-year incentive laden deal with a buyout/option on the 3rd year.
    Kasten’s business plan is all about using the Farm team and the Dodgers have plenty of options on the team already. I would look forward to a Rios/Smith platoon.

  2. Tmax, that platoon of Rios/Smith would be ok but if I’m the Dodgers I much rather if at all possible get Turner signed or go after someone else who has established himself at 3rd.

    • I agree with you. Who do you like? I am thinking they might go in-house and see how the first part of the season goes then if there is a need make a deal mid-season for Bryant as an audition for an extension and to cover for losing Seager. I think Seager moves on to play on the East Coast.
      Dodgers have a lot of trade capitol in very high demand (Pitching and Catching). Suarez has a higher Strikeout rate but that may be able to be addressed and he is talented.

      • I concur with you on Suarez, as our hitting coaches have been pretty successful with other players willing to listen and work these things out. If not JT , I would take a flyer on Bryant, but would not be willing to empty the farm if he still wants to be a 1 year rental. Socal and others have mentioned before about Seager wanting to play closer to home as well. So big decisions will eventually have to be made.

  3. How sure of the DH do we have to be to sign Ozuna? It is likely coming back in 2021. If it doesn’t, Ozuna was healthy for all 60 games and LED the Braves in HR, RBI and hits over Freeman. Plus, their BA, OBP, SLG and OPS were very similar. Ozuna’s OPS was 1.067, and is .801 for his career. I certainly am not trying to make a case for Ozuna compared to Freeman, but they would have been facing roughly the same pitchers on the same days so his stats are real. Surely, there is room for a RHH like that on the team.

  4. Semien would certainly play more than JT, who often gets dinged up. But when JT is playing, he is slightly better at the plate. What Semien does have going for him other than being 6 years younger is his fielding and, more importantly, that he hits LHP better than RHP. JT actually hits RHP better than LHP over his career. It’s always nice to have options, but in the end I doubt there is any team that would give JT a 4 year deal, so after all is said and done, he will be back in blue.

    • Can’t see Friedman letting Turner go. Got to believe he is playing the cards close to the chest right now. We never saw Mookie Betts as really happening until it was almost a done deal. Then BOOM! there it was. His new contract is backloaded, too. Friedman is going to give Justin a good offer. But he will NOT overpay. No more Jason Shmidts or Darren Drieforts. We just have to wait things out.

  5. I prefer Suarez if he’s available but Semien would be a good bat and glove. I’m for it rather than giving JT a long term contract (given his age andy health history especially).

  6. Seager will move to third base if he is extended. I know this because Seager is not a POS human, like Machado. Even Machado moved to third. C’mon.

  7. Semien would be big mistake.

    He has only one good year and will likely not have another more importantly he is not a third baseman.

    Suarez strikes out too much, and that is not likely to change significantly. We need battesr on this team that can hit for an average.

    Cle’s Ramirez or Bryant would better if we had to trade for someone. And we do need a right hand bat.

    I think it is silly for the dodgers to stand pat, they barely won a WS in a shorten season.
    Ans there are teams out there seriously improving.

    Standing pat is the same as falling backwards.

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