The Los Angeles Dodgers pushed their chips to the middle of the table on Friday and went all in. They signed Trevor Bauer to a monstrous three-year contract that will make him the highest-paid player (on an AAV basis) for at least the 2021 season (with the potential for the same in 2022).
We’re not going to sit here and say it was a bad move. The Dodgers have endless money to spend and just fortified their starting rotation in an effort to repeat as World Series champs, which hasn’t been done since the 1999-2000 New York Yankees achieved the goal.
But we’re also not going to sit here and pretend like this deal doesn’t have its risks. Bauer, arguably the most polarizing figure in baseball, is as inconsistent as they come, brings with him a lot of baggage, and has yet to really prove himself in the playoffs or consistently in front of actual fans. This far from a an infallible pairing.
So before we continue to project the Dodgers’ 2021 rotation and talk about how unstoppable it’s going to be, let’s take a look at three reasons why the Bauer deal could blow up in LA’s face.
3. The Dodgers could now lose out on Justin Turner
The Dodgers blew past the luxury tax. What does that mean for Justin Turner?
Are the Dodgers guaranteed to lose Justin Turner? No. But the fact that they just splurged on a record-setting deal for a guy like Bauer could perhaps send the wrong message, especially since Turner has a few suitors at the moment, according to reports.
Many have referred to Turner as the “heart and soul” of this Dodgers’ roster. However, it’s clear he wants to get paid one last time when you realize how long these negotiations have dragged on for. And if the Dodgers are going to spend over $40 million per season for the next two years on a guy with a career 3.90 ERA, we’d venture to think Turner isn’t thrilled that he got passed over after seven incredible years in LA, which was capped off with him leading the team to its first title in 32 years.
On top of that, the Dodgers are $30 million past the luxury tax threshold. How much more are they really willing to spend? Are corresponding moves coming to provide payroll relief to bring Turner back? Are they just going to give Turner what he wants since now they’re so far over that it doesn’t really matter?
We have no idea, but the optics here aren’t great, unless JT knew that the Dodgers were going to go for the big fish before moving forward with his contract situation. If they don’t bring him back, there’s no clear cut option on this roster to play third base, and that’s yet another problem.