The Dodgers have faced a situation like Trea Turner’s before.
Last year, the team let homegrown All-Star shortstop Corey Seager reach free agency, then did not match the 10-year, $325-million deal he got from the Texas Rangers.
This winter, with the out-of-contract Turner in line for a similarly massive payday, the Dodgers will have to once again decide how determined they are to keep another All-Star shortstop from departing in free agency.
The team did have discussions with Turner’s representatives about a potential contract extension prior to the season, but no formal offer materialized. Turner said he would be open to staying in Los Angeles long-term — something people inside the organization believe to be true, even with the Florida native’s East Coast roots — but also didn’t want to continue negotiations during the season.
It now leaves his chances of a Dodgers reunion in a precarious position.
Turner is as dynamic of a threat as almost anyone on the market. He is a career .302 hitter. He remains a premier stolen base threat. And since 2019, only fellow free agent Aaron Judge has more wins above replacement among position players, according to Fangraphs.
Turner is also going to be entering his age-30 season, two years older than Seager was last offseason. And this past year, he battled some inconsistency at the plate and in the field, though still was elected an All-Star starter and played a team-high 160 games.
Without a doubt, Turner will be one of the biggest names on the market, and at one of baseball’s most important (and expensive) positions. He should have no shortage of suitors, and no dearth of lucrative options to choose from.
Financially, the Dodgers should have the ability to match any offer that comes Turner’s way. But — even without an obvious shortstop successor waiting in the wings — it seems just as possible the bidding for his services surpasses what they’re willing to spend, and that for a second straight winter they watch a top-level shortstop land somewhere else.