“The simple answer is no,” said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman on Thursday, when asked whether Bauer’s deal closes the door on a reunion with Turner. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to put together the best roster that we can.”
While that was Friedman’s simple answer, the negotiations between Turner and the Dodgers have proven to be anything but simple this winter. Turner has remained consistent about his pursuit for a three- or four-year deal. The Dodgers have not yet wavered, remaining hesitant about offering anything over a two-year deal for the 36-year-old.
Both sides remain in communication, and the Dodgers are still considered the favorite, though other teams have recently tried to convince the veteran third baseman to leave Los Angeles. The Mets and Brewers have reportedly shown interest.
“Obviously it’s difficult for me to comment on a specific free agent, but I think it’s pretty well-documented what we think of JT and what he’s meant to this organization,” Friedman said. “As far as how it’s going to play out, we will see. But at every turn in the six-plus years that I’ve been here, ownership has been incredibly supportive to do everything we can to win and to reward the amazing fans that we have.”
Bringing Turner back would fill the need for a right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup, where Turner has been a fixture. Since 2017, Turner has hit .307, which ranks fifth among players with at least 1,200 plate appearances. The concern for the Dodgers, however, is that Turner’s defense will continue to decline moving forward.
Manager Dave Roberts has been outspoken throughout the offseason about his desire to have Turner back, especially because he’s a leader inside the clubhouse. If the Dodgers don’t come to terms with Turner, expect Edwin Ríos to get the bulk of the playing time at third base.
“I don’t know if my hope is bleeding in, but I expect him to be our third baseman,” Roberts said on SportsNet LA on Wednesday. “I know how much he loves Los Angeles, the Dodgers, the fans, and that love is reciprocated from the organization. … I hope something comes to a deal because I know we all value him and he was meant to be a Dodger.”
What happens in the rotation?
With Bauer now in the mix, the Dodgers have seven proven Major League starters on the 40-man roster. Having a surplus of starters is a good problem for any team to have, but it’s a problem nonetheless.
Gonsolin and May could be on the Opening Day roster as relievers or they could start the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, in order to stay stretched out in case of an injury. In a season that will be filled with unknowns, the Dodgers feel good about their situation, but they didn’t have many answers on Thursday.
“We’re not sure how things are going to shake out on April 1,” Friedman said. “But couldn’t feel more confident that they’re going to help us throughout the year and also through October.”
• In order to clear room on the 40-man roster for Bauer, the Dodgers
• The Dodgers continue to look for ways to add pitching depth and they’re expected to be one of the teams in attendance for Chaz Roe’s throwing session this weekend in Kentucky, a source told MLB.com. Roe, 34, has one of the best sliders in baseball but missed the majority of the ‘20 season with an arm injury. There was no ligament damage and Roe is believed to be fully healthy.