The Los Angeles Dodgers are somehow masters of avoiding controversy and unnecessary roster drama. The Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig situations should’ve been a much bigger stain on the franchise, but instead life goes on as the team owns the best record in MLB.
In fact, they even lucked out on both fronts. Bauer’s been suspended for two years (they save all the money on his remaining contract terms) and Puig is wasting away in South Korea.
On a much lighter note in terms of “controversy,” LA has a number of potential impending free agents that may leave after the 2022 season. One of them is Trea Turner, who wasn’t approached about an extension this offseason but is totally content with playing out the season without financial security for 2023 and beyond.
Were the Dodgers simply waiting for a resolution with Bauer before moving forward with Turner? Or are they hesitant to add another $25+ million per year salary on a long-term basis to the books?
Either way, the Dodgers have specialized in paying some of the game’s best and using their arsenal of talented young players to supplement appropriately. And now, heading into 2023, there might be more clarity on the team’s financial situation, as they have just $120 million committed to the books without a number of contract options being exercised (Justin Turner, Max Muncy and Danny Duffy) as well as Cody Bellinger potentially being non-tendered if his awful play continues.
Does that help Turner’s case to remain in LA for the long haul? Uh, not exactly …
What can Dodgers fans make of recent Trea Turner free agency rumors?
"“The 28-year-old turned down about $100 million for six years from the Nationals a few years back, which turned out to be a smart move. However, Turner, from Lake Worth, Fla., is said by sources to at first have had a negative reaction to the trade out west and still believed to prefer the East Coast, though some of that may be related to the 2021 position switch, and folks close to him insist he’s settled in and won’t rule out the West Coast. The Dodgers not only have a lot of the $275 million (with deferrals) Corey Seager didn’t take, but another $65 million in savings if MLB’s two-year ban of Trevor Bauer is upheld. “"
If Turner “prefers” the East Coast, are the Dodgers going to even waste their time? If they were willing to offer $275 million with deferrals to a 27-year-old Corey Seager entering his age-28 season, would they be willing to make a similar offer to a 29-year-old Turner entering his age-30 season? If they weren’t willing to go the absolute highest in the bidding war for arguably the best class of free agent shortstops ever, will they experience the same obstacle when Turner is alongside Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson and potentially Carlos Correa next winter?
Then again, Turner said he was open to extension talks if the Dodgers were willing to discuss before Opening Day and he tried to recruit Carlos Rodón to LA in the offseason. Considering those two instances, wouldn’t fans think he’s at least open to remaining with the Dodgers if the price is right?
It’s understandable why the Dodgers didn’t press the issue immediately after the lockout with so many other roster vacancies to address, but seeing as they might be staring down the barrel of a very similar shortstop conundrum next offseason, this will likely be hanging over fans’ heads until Turner officially signs a new contract … wherever that may be.