Though Trea Turner previously said he’s willing to negotiate an extension during the season, it appears as if the Los Angeles Dodgers might be taking advantage of that.
Why hasn’t Andrew Friedman extended one of the most valuable players on the roster despite a reasonable window to do so? It’s not like Turner’s market is undefined. He’s going to cost a lot of money. The Dodgers have it and he’s earned it, so what’s the wait?
Truth be told, the Dodgers had far more things to worry about this offseason, from reuniting with Clayton Kershaw to addressing the back end of the bullpen after Kenley Jansen’s departure to working on stealing Freddie Freeman from the Braves, among other things.
Turner’s under contract for 2022, so there isn’t exactly a rush. And it’s not like his market is going to drastically change. He’s one of the best shortstops in the game and will be paid as such.
But, with that being said, it’s becoming more and more evident that any extension offer from the Dodgers might have to blow Turner away when we consider a few factors.
Are the Dodgers waiting as long as possible before offering Trea Turner an extension?
"“It’s like I talked about before, [I’m open to] having talks if they want to have them and if not, let’s go play baseball. So no talks, no nothing. We’re ready to go play.”"
"“At the beginning of spring, Turner said he was open to having a discussion, but nothing has materialized. He noted that he would prefer to deal with those talks before the start of the season, so it’s unlikely that anything heats up after Opening Day. But if the Dodgers make a long-term offer that blows Turner away, that could change.“There’s also the outside perception that Turner, who is from Florida, wants to return to the East Coast. (MLB.com asked him about that earlier this spring.)”"
The first factor is free agency. Assuming Turner gets there unscathed and avoids injury or a poor campaign, he’ll be looking at $250 million or more, most likely. Then there’s the possibility of Turner wanting to return to the east coast, which could factor in to the extension negotiations.
If the Dodgers are aware of these two potential determining factors, then there’s no reason for them to rush now and offer Turner what they’d likely have to when the time comes in November. Maybe they’re more willing to risk seeing what his market is actually like in free agency to determine if they can either pay less or further influence his decision to stay with a winning franchise if no reputable East Coast clubs come calling.
Don’t mistake the Dodgers’ inactivity for lack of interest, though. LA’s payroll is already $260 million and the front office will have some things to sort out before this year’s trade deadline and then after the season when other players hit free agency. It’s likely Friedman is buying as much time as possible before he puts another $150-plus million contract on the books. That’s all.