Is DJ LeMahieu a realistic option for Dodgers if Justin Turner leaves?
The Dodgers could prioritize DJ LeMahieu if Justin Turner leaves, but it’s still not entirely likely.
A lot of things are up in the air right now. Los Angeles Dodgers fans have no idea if Justin Turner will be returning. What about the other rumors? Are Francisco Lindor and Nolan Arenado realistic options? Is LA about to make a run at Brad Hand? How about Corey Seager’s future with the team?
Those topics have been dominating the headlines, but, as we talked about earlier in the offseason, perhaps this free agency scenario is flying under the radar with the Winter Meetings rapidly approaching.
Could the Dodgers make a run at DJ LeMahieu if Turner leaves and the New York Yankees continue to wait to get him under contract?
Here’s what Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote to suggest this is indeed a possibility:
"“One might argue that the Dodgers should not be worried about exceeding the threshold, particularly when they might regain flexibility after ’21 with left-hander Clayton Kershaw, closer Kenley Jansen, shortstop Corey Seager and utility man Chris Taylor eligible for free agency. Then again, they are likely to re-sign Kershaw, spend big money on Seager (or his replacement) and absorb Cody Bellinger’s sharp salary increases in arbitration. Which is why Plan A for now seems to be Turner at third and Gavin Lux at second, with the potential for the DH in the NL only increasing Turner’s appeal.“The loss of Turner, on the other hand, would change the equation for the Dodgers, exacerbating their need for right-handed power. LeMahieu then would become a viable, though more costly, option at third.”"
It’s nothing that’s necessarily gaining traction, but this is a highly trusted insider connecting the dots. We’ll take it!
And when you look at this potential match, LeMahieu helps with the infield flexibility, which would greatly benefit manager Dave Roberts. Having guys like LeMahieu and Max Muncy, both of whom play multiple infield positions (first, second and third), can create a ton of favorable scenarios, especially with a possible position change coming for Seager (a move to second or third?) as Gavin Lux’s role with the team comes into focus.
Then again, LeMahieu reportedly wants a five-year commitment and it’s expected he fetches something in the $90-$100 million range. The Dodgers just revealed they lost over $100 million during the pandemic in addition to laying off employees last week. Does that sound like a team that wants to go above the luxury tax threshold?
It’s possible the front office is just waiting to see if there will be more clarity in regards to fans being able to attend games in 2021. The financial losses are gone, they’re not coming back, but an immediate injection of revenue from fans (when there’s a definitive timetable) could change the offseason philosophy.
In the end, LeMahieu is a great fit, but he just might be out of the Dodgers’ budget, which sounds crazy to say. But that’s 2020 for ya.