Tommy La Stella
With Justin Turner due up for a new contract at the age of 36, it might be time for the Dodgers to get a little younger at the hot corner position. While Turner is probably the best third baseman in next year’s market – in fact, it’s not really close – Andrew Friedman should be wary about signing him to a long-term deal.
The challenge is finding a third baseman to replace Turner, who has been a reliable cog in the Dodgers lineup since 2014. He provides an excellent clubhouse presence, veteran leadership on the field, and a potent bat. Replacing him isn’t as easy as signing the next kid off the block. And unfortunately for the Dodgers, while their farm system is rich in talent, they don’t really have a ready-made third basemen set to take the leap to everyday duties next season.
Enter Tommy La Stella.
The Angels infielder is coming off his best season in the majors, which would have received more attention had he not broken his leg halfway through it. Four years younger than Turner, La Stella is an interesting candidate to take the reigns at Dodger Stadium. Last season, he split time between second and third base, but with Anthony Rendon signed long-term, he is set to play a platoon role with David Fletcher at second whenever 2020 gets going.
La Stella is projected to be worth 2.3 wins over the next three seasons by ZiPs, so the Dodgers would be hoping he can outperform those projections a bit. If baseball is played in 2020, it will be a good indicator of whether the first half of his 2019 season was a sign of a player ready to take the next step in productivity.
La Stella is a much better third baseman than he is playing the middle of the infield. He could make it his permanent home with the Dodgers.