The Los Angeles Dodgers have managed to solve some offseason issues before they actually became issues. After extending Max Muncy, Blake Treinen and Daniel Hudson, the only glaring questions that remain are Trea Turner, Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Anderson, all of whom are slated for free agency; Cody Bellinger, who is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility; and Justin Turner, who has a team contract option for 2023.
For JT, he’s the only one who could have a replacement already on the roster in Miguel Vargas. As of now, there’s no clear succession plan for Trea Turner, Kershaw, Anderson and Bellinger.
Though Turner is a Dodgers legend, it’s certainly worth wondering if LA is going to turn down his $16 million option, pay the $2 million buyout, and start a new era with Vargas at the hot corner. If that definitively wasn’t the case, then why didn’t Andrew Friedman and Co. settle this lingering contract matter earlier like he did with all the other aforementioned players?
There’s likely more to it than we’ve been made aware of, but it’s worth wondering, especially since Vargas made the NLDS roster.
Ask Turner, though, and he’s not even thinking about it. He’s confident everything will unfold in the manner it’s supposed to.
Justin Turner was asked about his contract situation with the Dodgers
It’s important to note, however, that this is not the time to ask contract questions, media! Don’t you get it by now? The Dodgers gearing up for the NLDS against a division rival in no way warrants inquiries about one’s contract situation!
Thankfully, Turner handled this professionally and said what all LA fans were thinking.
While we’re on the topic, though, the Dodgers did operate in a manner this year that suggested Turner might be retained. They extended Muncy after a horrible four-plus months to start the year. They extended Treinen knowing he could miss the year with a shoulder injury. They extended Hudson a couple months after he tore his ACL.
Turner got off to a disastrous start in 2022, but it didn’t really change much for the Dodgers. He hit .256 with a .734 OPS in 84 first-half games. Those numbers were accompanied by just eight homers. Then, in 44 second-half games, he hit .319 with an .889 OPS. Though he missed some time in July and August with an injury, he still finished with 128 games under his belt and normalized his overall numbers (.278 AVG., .788 OPS and 116 OPS+).
Wouldn’t you say that’s worth one final year at $16 million, even if he’s logging most of his reps at DH? That’s up for the Dodgers to decide, but like Turner said, taking care of business in the playoffs comes first. Then the contract situation will take care of itself.