It’s time for the Dodgers to make their marquee offseason move.
Dodgers fans might prefer to bring back Justin Turner in an attempt not to disrupt the status quo, but when other opportunities present themselves, it’s president Andrew Friedman’s job to act accordingly.
That’s exactly what’s happening with DJ LeMahieu’s free agency situation. Though the Dodgers have been linked to him, their status as a “threat” dissipated over the last week when multiple MLB insiders didn’t deem it a fit because Los Angeles wasn’t willing to meet the slugger’s contract demands.
But now a window has opened. LeMahieu is reportedly angered by the Yankees’ “slow-play tactics” and has instructed his representation to re-engage with other teams that expressed interest in him earlier in the offseason. That includes the Dodgers.
It’s long been assumed the Dodgers are the only real destination outside of the Yankees that could offer LeMahieu a winning culture and the contract he desires.
Apparently, LeMahieu either wants a four-year, $92 million contract or a five-year, $110 million contract. The Yankees have reportedly offered four years for $84 million and have made it clear they won’t negotiate with themselves.
So why don’t the Dodgers pop in, offer one of those two deals, backload it to avoid luxury tax issues in 2021 and 2022, and either force the Yankees’ hand or get themselves a new versatile infielder who wields one of the most dangerous bats in the game?
At the bottom of that blurb, it notes he’s willing to play third base, which is huge given the Dodgers current infield situation.
If the 36-year-old Turner wants four years, there no reason not to give the 32-year-old LeMahieu five years, especially since the Dodgers’ payrolls after the 2021 and 2022 seasons sit at … $101 million. That’s nothing for them. The only player guaranteed a salary after 2022 is Mookie Betts. The Dodgers are well positioned to do this and would be disrupting the balance of power in the American League, further advantaging themselves in their future runs to the Fall Classic.
With $195 million committed to the payroll in 2021, the Dodgers can give LeMahieu $12 million for this coming season and balance the rest out over the remaining four years. Then they’re fully set. It seems simple enough. And with tensions riding high between LeMahieu and his preferred destination, the timing has never been better.