The movement heading into free agency for the Dodgers will ultimately come down to how much money they have to spend. Trea Turner remains a top priority and Aaron Judge seems like a dream, but regardless both players will ultimately choose the team who can offer them the most money.
The Dodgers on opening day had over $280 million on their payroll for the 2022 season with taxes jumping them up into $302 million (via Cot’s Baseball Contracts). The Dodgers can clear some cap heading into the 2023 season to make some moves, but what moves seem to make the most sense?
Could the Dodgers have upgraded the roster? Absolutely. But this is still by far the most talented Dodgers team in the Friedman era & reinforcements are on the way. LA's betting heavily on the internal options they have and players returning from injury. This team can win it all.
— Doug McKain (@DMAC_LA) August 2, 2022
Dodgers writer Juan Toribio gives an in-depth look at the player options that the Dodgers can exercise to make some cap space and among the top names includes Justin Turner. This of course comes at the heels of Justin still being unsure of his future with the team (via MLB).
Justin Turner, Hanser Alberto and Jimmy Nelson all have club options for 2023, with Turner’s being the most important of the three. The Dodgers hold a $16 million club option for Turner with a $2 million buyout.
This gives the Dodgers some breathing room to get some money back into their books, but also gives the Dodgers some options.
The easiest one is to pick up Turner’s option and have him locked up for next season. They could also choose to decline the option, pay Turner the $2 million buyout and look to bring him back at a cheaper price. Or, the Dodgers could choose to decline Turner’s option and proceed with Max Muncy and Miguel Vargas as their third basemen next season. That decision will have to come within five days following the end of the World Series.
There is some work left for the Dodgers to be done and clearly the Dodgers are knocking right at the door of being a legit championship team. Trea would bring the firepower needed for a deep run, but the Dodgers should remain prepared for his departure and possibly make room for a bigger signing.
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