Although the Cactus League has asked MLB to delay the start of 2021 Spring Training, every indication remains camps will open in approximately three weeks. More pressing for the Los Angeles Dodgers is the free agency of Justin Turner.
He, along with Joc Pederson and others, have yet to sign a new contract. Fellow Dodgers free agents Pedro Baez (Houston Astros), Alex Wood (San Francisco Giants) and Kiké Hernandez (Boston Red Sox) have latched on with other teams.
The Dodgers re-signing Turner has long been considered the likely resolution, even with reports he was seeking a four-year contract. L.A. is believed to be more interested in a two-year deal, which suggests a contract with a third-year option may be the ultimate landing spot.
As Turner remains unsigned and the start of Spring Training inches closer each day, the Dodgers reportedly still feel confident one of their franchise cornerstones will remain with the team, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
Dodgers remain optimistic they can re-sign Justin Turner. He’d only play for a contender and has 4 possible options, including LAD and Jays — no surprise considering productivity. Dodgers appear to prefer a 2-year deal but he’s been hoping for more in possibly his “final” deal.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 25, 2021
In addition to the Dodgers, the Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals have been among the clubs connected to Turner. Though, the Nationals were presented as more of a potential option than real interest.
Where the Blue Jays stand financially is unclear after their signing of George Springer to a six-year, $150 million contract. Furthermore, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has shed weight this offseason with a determination to play third base.
Turner has hit .302/.382/.503 with 177 doubles, 116 home runs and 406 RBI in 796 games over the past seven seasons. He was an All-Star in 2017 and is the Dodgers’ all-time postseason leader in games played (72), hits (79), home runs (12), RBI (40) and total bases (135).
The last time Turner was a free agent, he re-signed with the Dodgers on a four-year, $64 million contract in December 2016.
Roberts has Turner as top priority
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has long made his appreciation for Turner clear and earlier this offseason called re-signing him a top priority.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!