Dodgers never making contract offer to Trea Turner makes you wonder what happened
Did you guys hear? In consecutive offseasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers let two All-Star shortstops in Corey Seager -- a franchise legend -- and Trea Turner depart in free agency, only to be left with nobody at the position in 2023 following Gavin Lux's torn ACL.
According to reports after the 2021 season, the Dodgers offered Seager a $300 million contract with deferrals, but he took the larger offer from the Texas Rangers seemingly without hestiation (he signed before the lockout).
As for Turner's situation after the 2022 season, fans were unsure what to believe. They heard the two sides had discussed a deal in spring training, but nothing ever came to fruition. Then there were the ongoing rumors suggesting Turner preferred a return to the East Coast. Then, when the offseason arrived, it was believed the Dodgers were going to be in on Turner despite his robust market.
But just about a month after the season ended, Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies as the Dodgers were conducting a mini teardown of their roster, parting with guys like Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Tyler Anderson and others.
Meanwhile, Trea Turner was apparently never considered to be part of their long-term plans. The star shortstop revealed to the media this week (with the Phillies in LA for a three-game series) that the Dodgers never offered him a contract.
Dodgers never offered Trea Turner a contract. Why?
So ... what happened here? Because if the Dodgers were always considering making a run at Shohei Ohtani after the 2023 season, then it makes no sense why they would've abruptly changed their approach with Turner.
The long-term commitments in baseball are sometimes tough to swallow. The Dodgers already have Mookie Betts in town through 2032. Freddie Freeman is around through 2027. An 11-year contract for Turner would've greatly limited the Dodgers' financial flexibility for years to come, especially if an Ohtani addition was still on the table.
But ... didn't they know that all along? Why talk to Turner in the offseason about a deal and then completely ignore him eight months later? It's not like their stance on Lux changed since he was once again limited by injuries in 2022 and didn't improve dramatically year over year.
Maybe the preliminary talks with Turner were a ploy to pretend they were interested in order to appease the fan base? Turner was never expected to sign an extension. Players of his caliber almost always test free agency because the demand in the open market increases their price tag. The Dodgers couldn't afford the crickets that early on, especially after Seager's swift departure just months prior.
As Turner said this week, "It’s a business. ... It just didn’t work out.” Yup, that sums it up, it would seem.