As followers proceed to attempt to course of the abrupt finish to the Dodgers 2022 season, the entrance workplace should put the early exit behind them and look ahead to guaranteeing historical past doesn’t repeat itself in 2023. Sadly, the joy of loading up for subsequent 12 months comes with the value of the lack of many key contributors from final 12 months. The Dodgers are set to see over $100 million come off the books as soon as the baseball season formally ends. With rumors already swirling about Los Angeles probably being in on a few of the sport’s greatest names, it seems that most of the gamers coming off the payroll is not going to be donning Dodger Blue subsequent 12 months.
A type of names who may very well be part of the exodus is Justin Turner. Turner is likely one of the most intriguing names of the Dodgers with unsure futures. His 2022 season included a few of the highest of highs and lowest of lows. The primary two months of the season had been a few of the worst of Turner’s stellar profession, via April and Might Turner slashed a minuscule .222/.285/.383/.668. Followers had been clamoring for him to be taken out of the lineup believing that he was previous and washed up. Turner responded in an enormous method with a slash line of .309/.384/.468/.853, whereas main the MLB in batting common down the stretch. His energy numbers nonetheless weren’t what they was once, however he figured one thing out and have become arguably one of the best fifth or sixth hitter in any lineup in baseball.
Like the vast majority of the Dodger lineup, Turner struggled within the playoffs to the tune of a 2-for-13 efficiency with three walks to go together with three strikeouts. At occasions, Turner simply seemed overmatched by Padres pitching. He had a number of strikeouts in vital conditions and did not hit balls onerous persistently. Along with his efficiency down the stretch, it’s onerous to say that he has formally misplaced a step, however his playoff at bats actually make you consider his doable regression after one other 12 months of baseball. The Dodgers themselves have admitted that they’re not less than having to suppose onerous about it.
Turner, who will flip 38 in November, signed a two-year, $34 million deal in 2021 with a group choice for the upcoming 2023 season. The membership choice is value $16 million if the Dodgers determine to train it, and a $2 million buyout in the event that they determine to not. Assuming Turner doesn’t determine to retire, typical considering would say the Dodgers would probably train his choice and hold him in the same position to the one he had this 12 months. With the Dodgers seemingly limitless payroll and Turner’s significance to the clubhouse and the Los Angeles group, it’s onerous think about seeing him in one other uniform. Nonetheless, there are numerous different components that come into play this offseason that the Dodgers haven’t handled prior to now.
Apart from his age and potential regression, the principle issue is the Dodgers organizational depth. Miguel Vargas is somebody the Dodgers are extraordinarily excessive on, as evident by his presence on the NLDS lively roster regardless of struggles in his debut. Vargas, who shall be 23 in November, is a gifted infielder who wants extra expertise on the large league stage. In his first 12 months of AAA ball this 12 months, Vargas slashed .304/.404/.511/.915 with 17 residence runs and 82 RBI in 520 plate appearances. He struggled in his restricted time with the Dodgers going simply 8-for-47 with two additional base hits. Nonetheless, most rookies have struggles with their first style of huge league pitching, particularly those that solely get at-bats sporadically, and Vargas has typically wanted time to regulate to stage modifications.
Even when the Dodgers needed to maintain each Turner and Vargas, they might run into one other challenge. Vargas is just not the one younger prospect the Dodgers have within the pipeline. With top-of-the-line farm techniques in baseball, there are many guys chomping on the bit to be known as up and showcase themselves in an enormous league setting. Not solely that, however guys like James Outman, Diego Cartaya, Bobby Miller, Michael Busch, and others will have to be positioned on the 40-man roster to keep away from dropping them to the Rule 5 draft. This issue will weigh closely on the entrance workplace as a result of they’ll have to judge not solely their confidence within the participant, but additionally how they may match into subsequent 12 months’s lineup.
Clearly with guys like Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman on the roster, the Dodgers count on this group to compete for a World Collection subsequent 12 months. Nonetheless, if the Dodgers elect to maintain a bevy of prospects, it’s honest to marvel how aggressive the group will really be towards that aim. So I feel the most probably situation we see play out this offseason is that Andrew Friedman and Co. should present their hand and select just a few prospects that they consider will assist the group probably the most in 2023. The remaining may very well be shopped for established veterans which might unlock 40-man roster area whereas serving to the group reload for one more playoff run.
JT may see himself because the odd man out on this situation. With Lux seemingly set to occupy 2nd, Trea Turner (or a free agent/commerce acquisition) penciled in at quick, and a possible Muncy/Vargas platoon at third, the Dodgers might not have a spot for him. In the event that they don’t find yourself buying and selling Vargas, it appears probably that JT may discover his choice declined or that if he comes again it’ll be in the same bench position going again to when he first arrived in Los Angeles.
In the end, a whole lot of it may comes right down to how extremely the group feels in regards to the 23-year-old Vargas. In the event that they see him as a possible Corey Seager-like homegrown expertise, Turner shall be gone. If not, we may even see Vargas included in a large prospect bundle that nets stud in return and permits Turner to return to the group he has seen the vast majority of his profession with. Regardless of the case, it seems like the choice will come right down to youth vs. expertise and it ought to inform us quite a bit in regards to the confidence stage the entrance workplace have in Vargas breaking out.