It’s January 20th and Justin Turner is still not a Dodger. After a World Series win and a career of big hits and community service in LA, the thinking was that this contract wouldn’t take long to get done. And, despite his age, he remains a potent, middle-of-the-order bat. Moreover, the team has a clear need for the third baseman.
Of course, the reported hold up in a deal is the number of years Turner is seeking. The 36-year-old is said to be asking for a 4 year deal while the Dodgers prefer to offer 2 years.
Even with the divide, industry thinking still sees a JT/LA reunion sooner rather than later. In fact, Dodgers beat writer Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group is thinking much sooner.
“I’ve said all along that it just makes too much sense for JT to be back with the Dodgers,” Plunkett said on SportsNet LA. “Both sides want it. Both sides are motivated for various reasons to make it happen. So, I do think he comes back and I’ll go out on a limb and say that by the time you’re taping this show next week, Justin Turner will be back.”
Hot Stove rumors surrounding Turner have been quiet. In the early goings of the winter, reports linked the former All-Star to the Toronto Blue Jays who now have acquired two premium bats in the last 24 hours. Notably, Turner has remained involved with the Dodgers in a myriad of ways. He’s appeared on SportsNet LA programming this offseason. On Tuesday, he was at Dodger Stadium for the celebration of the life of Tommy Lasorda. And even the team store is still selling Turner number 10 jerseys at the ballpark.
If you’re in line with Plunkett’s thinking, you may not be that far off. Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers have seemingly worked in the shadows this offseason. The Blake Treinen deal was announced by the ballclub itself, a rarity in this modern era of “firsts” on social media. The trade for reliever Corey Knebel was under the radar in terms of reporting along with the signings of Brandon Morrow and Jimmy Nelson, among others.
If there’s a gentleman’s agreement in place, there wouldn’t be any rush for the two sides to announce the deal. Still, most Dodger fans would feel a lot better to see it get done already, particularly after the San Diego Padres continue to make moves to close the gap in the NL West.