What’s going on with the Dodgers and Justin Turner?
The MLB hot stove is fully turned off — in fact, it might be broken. But the Los Angeles Dodgers are among the teams attempting to revive it. Just last week, we were hit with the report that the World Series champs remain interested in DJ LeMahieu, who spent the last two years rising to the top of baseball with the New York Yankees.
Now, it appears we know why they’ve remained in the sweepstakes despite the slugger’s high asking price (he reportedly wants a five-year deal in between $100-$125 million). It’s because, according to the latest chatter, Justin Turner‘s contract. demands have increased.
Per Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, Turner now wants a four-year deal, but the Dodgers don’t want to go beyond two years. If the 36-year-old wants a four-year deal, pivoting to the 32-year-old LeMahieu makes total sense.
Castillo notes that LeMahieu is atop the team’s wish list, with Kris Bryant, Eugenio Suarez, Mike Moustakas and Kyle Seager among other potential trade targets. We’ve long heard about the Dodgers-Bryant link and recently explored a Suarez deal given his team-friendly contract for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, this is the greatest indication thus far that there seems to be a lack of progress — or even distancing — between Turner and the Dodgers. It was previously reported that the Dodgers were open to offering him a three-year deal, which was believed to be his preference earlier in the offseason. Now, both of those scenarios have changed.
The logic here makes total sense. LeMahieu is four years younger and is in the prime of his career after two MVP-like campaigns with the Yankees. On top of that, he’s versatile, possessing the ability to play first, second and third base. So if it’ll only cost one more year and a few more million for him, the Dodgers might as well go for it all.
Though Turner is considered by many the heart and soul of the Dodgers, it’s hard to argue LeMahieu doesn’t make them a better team. He’s less of an injury risk, a more aggressive hitter, and can give manager Dave Roberts more flexibility with his lineup cards.
We hate to say it, but we gotta call it like it is.