It sounds like Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman is preparing for 3B Justin Turner to leave in free agency.
Given the financial ramifications manufactured by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not surprising that the MLB offseason, at least in terms of free agent signings, is moving at a snail’s pace. Not only are some of the biggest names still available, but we haven’t heard much of anything about their respective markets.
The Los Angeles Dodgers enter the equation needing to address the futures of a slew of high-profile free agents. It also wouldn’t hurt them to get some of their young stars locked up long term, but we’ll save that discussion for a later date.
In the meantime, however, it remains to be seen if Justin Turner has played his last game for the club. The last we heard on this front indicated that both sides have mutual interest in a reunion, but if GM Andrew Friedman’s most recent comments told us anything, it’s that he’s at least preparing for the 36-year-old third baseman to sign elsewhere this offseason.
"“There are a couple of areas that are front of mind for us that we’re focusing on” Friedman told The Athletic. “One is adding a right-handed bat, and with our position versatility, it doesn’t have to be at third base. Obviously, we’ve been very vocal about JT and how much he has meant to this organization.“He’s earned the right to go out into free agency and get a feel for the market, and it’s incumbent on us to be prepared for if he and (his wife) Kourtney find an opportunity they fall in love with for whatever reason.”"
It’s almost as if Friedman came as close as he possibly could to reality here, and that there’s a good chance Turner will be overwhelmed by dollar figures beyond Friedman’s control. That, of course, is subject to change if he abbreviates his demands, but he wouldn’t count on that considering this is his last chance to ink a potential lucrative deal.
If this is the end of the road for Turner in a Dodgers uniform, Friedman will surely have his work cut out to replace him. After all, he’s hit .307/.398/.504 with 66 home runs, 208 RBI and a .902 OPS over the last four seasons, all while playing exceptional defense at the hot corner.
With Turner seemingly entering the twilight of his career, it’s possible Los Angeles is fearful that his contract could become an albatross at the back end if his production falls off a cliff. This could make them reluctant to press the issue to re-sign him.
Whatever the case, Friedman’s comments indicate that if Turner and the Dodgers confirm the end of their seven-year marriage, he’ll be ready to move on immediately.