The Los Angeles Dodgers had one of the greatest lineups in MLB history in 2021 headlined by Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman. That lineup took a huge blow on Monday as Turner made his free agency decision to sign with the long-rumored Philadelphia Phillies.
Turner was one of the biggest names to hit the free-agent market this offseason and he certainly hauled in a big payday. However, surprisingly, it is not quite as much as Corey Seager got a year ago despite Turner arguably being the better shortstop.
Financially speaking, it is hard to blame the Dodgers for not offering this kind of contract to Turner. Historically, long-term big-money contracts to shortstops don’t often pan out, especially with Turner turning 30 during the 2023 season.
That being said, it still stings from a fan’s perspective as Turner was seemingly meant to be the long-term replacement for Seager, who was a huge fan favorite. Now, the Dodgers do not have either player and also do not have Keibert Ruiz or Josiah Gray.
Gavin Lux is the next man up for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There are other big-name shortstops on the market for the Dodgers to potentially replace Turner with but that likely won’t be the route the team takes. Dave Roberts all but confirmed earlier this offseason that the plan was to give Gavin Lux the run at shortstop if Turner did not return.
It might not be the most appealing option for the fanbase but with how the team is situated right now, it makes the most sense to give the young players a run. Lux being the full-time shortstop opens the door for playing time at second base, potentially allowing someone like Michael Busch to become a contributor on the big-league team next season.
There are several top prospects for the Dodgers who are ready to make a big league impact next season. It appears that Andrew Friedman and co. are going to give these prospects a chance to carve out a role and if the team needs to make improvements at the deadline that is what they will do.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a lot of money to spend this offseason but ultimately may lay low to save for a bigger target next winter.
It will be interesting to see how the Dodgers handle the rest of the offseason. Two big-name targets in Turner and Justin Verlander are no longer available. Will the Dodgers pivot for someone like Carlos Rodon or bring in a non-shortstop bat? Or is the team truly going to rely on its young talent to carry the load next season?