With a reunion between Justin Turner and the reigning World Series champions seeming less likely, the Dodgers could be in the market for a marquee third baseman. That possibility had been suggested back in late November by Jon Morosi, but it felt a little more hypothetical at the time. Now that the 36-year-old Turner is reportedly asking for a four-year deal, however, LA looking elsewhere feels like a real possibility.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers will only pursue a right-handed hitter and have prioritized free-agent DJ LeMahieu. He won’t come cheap, though, and the Yankees are considered favorites to re-sign the batting champ, who has also drawn heavy interest from the Blue Jays. Should the Dodgers be outbid or simply opt to commit less money, they “could pivot” to the trade market.
Castillo cites a source to list four big-name third basemen expected to be available: Kris Bryant, Eugenio Suárez, Mike Moustakas, and Kyle Seager. The latter of those two are lefties, which means only the Cub and the Cub-killer would be on the Dodgers’ list. Bryant might be the more attractive of the two in the wake of the Yu Darvish deal because the Dodgers could probably pick him up for prospect pennies on the dollar.
Suárez, on the other hand, still has four years remaining on a deal of just over $11 million annually with a $15 million team option for 2025. That’s an absolute steal and you’d think even small-market Cincinnati would be willing to pay it, but the Reds appear willing to sell off just about everyone at this point. They’ll surely expect a big haul in return, much more than the Cubs can reasonably get for one year of Bryant at close to $20 million.
So would the Dodgers want to go with a more temporary fix at a much lower trade cost or ensure security at the hot corner in exchange for a bigger cache of talent? Given how many of their current core players they may want to extend, the former might make sense. On the other hand, Suárez is on such a reasonable deal that he’d hardly block any future extensions.
Though none of this is particularly new, the idea that Bryant could really be moved prior to the season is yet another indication that Jed Hoyer’s claims of trying to be competitive are little more than empty rhetoric. Beyond just losing a potential MVP-level player who happens to be their best hitter against left-handed pitching, the return for Bryant figures to be both light and not capable of contributing in Chicago for quite a while.
But I guess in light of everything going on in Washington, even thinking about the Cubs tearing things down feels positive because it at least means baseball season is around the corner.