Trea Turner’s free agency is likely to be one of the biggest storylines of the Dodgers offseason, even if it spends most of the time in the background. The All-Star is one of four big-name shortstops on the market, with more than four teams looking for help in the middle of the infield.
Over at The Athletic, former MLB general manager Jim Bowden did a mailbag article, answering 19 reader questions about the offseason. Unsurprisingly, there were several questions about the shortstop market, and Bowden’s answer to the first had an interesting little tidbit about Turner.
Do you see Andrew Friedman (and the Dodgers) making a real effort to re-sign Trea Turner? — Robert F.
I don’t think Friedman is going to allocate $300 million for Turner, but he would like him back at his price, whatever that is. That said, Friedman has plenty of options. He could try to sign Aaron Judge and move Gavin Lux to shortstop. He could pursue one of the other star free-agent shortstops: Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts or Dansby Swanson. However, he also has a lot of work to do on the pitching staff, and decisions to make on Justin Turner (the Dodgers declined his club option but could pursue a reunion) and Cody Bellinger (deciding whether to trade or tender him). Friedman has the resources and payroll flexibility to do what he wants. The Dodgers will be one of the more fascinating offseason storylines to watch.
That first sentence is potentially intriguing: “he would like him back at his price, whatever that is.” That would indicate that the Dodgers are willing to spend on Turner, just not at the huge level he’s seeking. Does that mean they’re okay with the dollars-per-year but not the length of the contract? That’s a common assumption, and Bowden might be reinforcing that. Or he might be hearing the same things we all are and not have any actual inside information.
I’d lean towards the latter because of the “sign Aaron Judge and move Gavin Lux to shortstop” part; it sounds like Bowden is simply reading the same stuff we all are and parroting it as his expert opinion. There’s no reason Judge and Lux would be connected other than the unrealistic idea the Dodgers might move their six-time Gold Glove right-fielder to second base.
When you look at all of this through that lens, Bowden is basically saying, “The Dodgers like good players and want to sign them to contracts they’re comfortable with.” Thanks, Ralph.
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