Much of the offseason discourse surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers has focused on the hopeful return of Trea Turner … but with a backup plan to sign Carlos Correa, should Turner depart in free agency.
But what if we told you those were the least-likely scenarios for LA? There are various reporters, insiders and analysts connected with the team, and some hear different bits of information, which seems to be the case for the person on the MLB.com beat.
Here’s what Juan Toribio wrote in his “Dodgers Beat” column, which somehow wasn’t more widespread when it dropped a few days ago:
"“With Trea Turner entering free agency, the Dodgers are looking for a starting shortstop for the first time in quite some time. Bringing back Turner is a possibility for the Dodgers, but multiple sources told MLB.com that it’s more likely the two-time All-Star will be playing elsewhere next season …“Dansby Swanson is another possibility, especially if the Braves look elsewhere. Carlos Correa, who is arguably the best shortstop of the group, would be a long shot, according to a source. The Dodgers understand Correa won’t be received well by a large portion of the fan base, given the shortstop’s involvement in the 2017 Astros cheating scandal. Correa and a group of Dodgers players also had back-and-forths once the scandal was proven factual.”"
Dodgers Rumors: What are LA’s chances of keeping Trea Turner?
Does this mean the Phillies-Turner rumors are as real as they get? Does this mean the Dodgers are looking to pay under $200 million and/or $25 million AAV for their next starting shortstop? Toribio also mentioned Gavin Lux entering Opening Day as the starter.
In that scenario, Dodgers fans would have to guess someone like Aaron Judge is the primary target for the front office. LA can’t afford to lose an all-around player like Turner and not replace the production elsewhere on the field.
Either that, or they could chase top-line starters like Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodon and Justin Verlander to give them an edge in another area of the roster.
Whatever the Dodgers’ end game is, this report from Toribio suggests Andrew Friedman may not want to get stuck in the shortstop bidding war — at least for Turner and Correa — because of other commitments on the payroll, as well as other glaring needs. There’s a real advantage for the Dodgers to swipe the “cheaper options” from the Red Sox and Braves due to those teams’ unwillingness to spend big in free agency. Bogaerts isn’t giving Boston a break, and Swanson certainly isn’t taking a classic team-friendly deal from Atlanta.
Maybe that’s where they swoop in, overpay a bit, and still acquire an elite option at the position — kind of like what they did with Freeman last offseason. Such a scenario would allow the Dodgers to be a bit more flexible in addressing the rotation and bullpen, too.
Just don’t forget to consider any and all scenarios in free agency. There’s never a correct answer in the first few weeks after the season ends.