Trea Turner is expected to take over for the Dodgers at shortstop for this season, as they lost Corey Seager to the Rangers. However, his contract will soon be up, and he'll be a free agent next offseason. You may recognize this situation as it is reminiscent of last year's uncertainty surrounding now former Dodger Corey Seager. According to reports, the Dodgers offered Corey Seager an extension during 2021 spring training. A similar offer to Turner would be warranted and could reach similar heights, if not surpass them.
Should the organization take the approach they did with Seager and attempt to sign Trea Turner before his current contract is up and if so, what might that extension look like?
In 2016, when Turner became a full-time shortstop, he was near the top in nearly every offensive category worth noting. He's in the top six in batting average, slugging, wOBA, wRC+, WAR, and OPS. Trea also leads all Major League Baseball players with 201 stolen bases during that time period.
If the Dodgers offer an eight-year, $280 million dollar extension, it would make Turner the highest-paid shortstop in the league by average annual value (AAV) at $35M per year. Those figures put Trea above the Mets' Francisco Lindor ($34.1M) and Corey Seager ($32.5M). But would Trea want to commit to those years? Would he want more or less?
Unlike Seager, Turner has been exceptionally durable throughout his career. Which, amongst other things, may have been a big contributing factor in the Dodgers decision to not match the ten-year contract offered to Seager by Texas. With Trea's health in mind, a 10-year, $350 million dollar deal for a true five-tool shortstop is not out of the question.
The Dodgers could also consider a short-term, high AAV contract for Turner. This method has previously been used by the Dodgers with starting pitcher Trevor Bauer and outfielder Bryce Harper. So, a four-year $160 million deal is not beyond the realm of possibility. A shorter deal above the current market rate ($40M AVV) would allow Turner to re-enter free agency before his age 33 season. Trea would still have a few prime years left and could possibly get a lucrative multi-year deal once again.
The new CBA, if and when it is implemented, will have a huge impact on the pay landscape. As of now, we won't presume to know what the new salary cap will be in 2022 and how those circumstances influence the Dodgers' front office's thinking process.
Regardless, once the lockout is lifted, we should have a clearer picture of the new world of superstar shortstop compensation. Carlos Correa and Trevor Story's contracts will be important indicators.
Trea Turner is a one-of-a-kind player. He can do it all and at an All-Star level. When Trea joined the Dodgers, he agreed to a position he hadn't played in quite some time. He's a great fit for the clubhouse and knows how to play winning baseball. He openly accepted full responsibility for his disappointing performance in the 2021 playoffs.
But what does it all mean? Well, it means that the Dodgers are likely to be more aggressive in the pursuit of a Turner extension. He's too good to let slip away and with Corey's departure, the Dodgers will need him. Team President Andrew Friedman has proven he’ll sign elite talent to a long-term deal and make no mistake, Trea Turner is elite talent.