The World Champion Dodgers are still set up quite well for another run in 2021, trying to become the first team to win back-to-back titles in a couple decades. And given that key pieces Corey Seager and Clayton Kershaw, among others, are scheduled for free agency after 2021, it isn’t too crazy to think the Dodgers might give a little extra push in 2021.
To that end, Jon Morosi today writes about the possibility that the Dodgers will swing big at third base to replace current free agent Justin Turner:
Source: #Dodgers are interested in trading for Nolan Arenado. (Again.) Here’s my column on the reasons to believe a deal can happen — and the obstacles that remain. @MLB @MLBNetwork https://t.co/MvPXq1I671
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2020
In Morosi’s discussion of the Dodgers’ plans – the trade interest in Arenado remains very legit – he includes another third base name:
To make the obvious point on the Dodgers’ motivation, Justin Turner is a free agent, and the team needs an everyday third baseman. If the Dodgers re-sign Turner or trade for Kris Bryant, of course, the Arenado conversation is probably moot. But it’s overly simplistic to characterize this as a choice between Arenado and Turner or Bryant. From the Dodgers’ perspective, the better comparison is between Arenado and Corey Seager.
To fill in that gap there: the idea is that the Dodgers would want only one of these guys on a monster long-term deal. So picking up Arenado might impact the Seager efforts, or picking up Bryant or retaining Turner might mean more of a push to extend Seager.
That the Cubs, and Rockies, and Dodgers, and Arenado, and Bryant are all linked in some ways is not a surprise. There were long-standing Arenado and Bryant rumors with the Dodgers even before last season, despite the presence of Justin Turner. (And, of course, Bryant and Arenado are linked in other ways.)
Shortly after Morosi, Jim Bowden offered up the same perspective on this topic – the Dodgers’ interest in Arenado is quite legit, but Bryant is also on the radar:
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) November 20, 2020
Financially, there would be no question in the Dodgers’ ability to take on Arenado or Bryant this coming year (Arenado has an opt-out after 2021, Bryant is a free agent), nor really the ability to take on Arenado’s contract long-term if he doesn’t opt out. They also may – who knows? – want to try to bring in Bryant and extend him a la Mookie Betts.
All that said, coming off down/injured seasons, Arenado or Bryant would be a big bet on upside in 2021, rather than just sticking with Turner for another year. Turner will be 36 next year, but he hit very well once again in 2020, and still plays serviceable defense at third base. If the Dodgers could simply retain Turner for another year on a cheap deal, it might be a lot more palatable than spending player capital to acquire Bryant at $20-ish million for 2021.
In any case, we’ll keep an eye on this, given the overlapping interests here. If the Cubs are itching to move Bryant for whatever small return they can get, you can figure they’ll have some conversations with the Dodgers. But the rub is that the Cubs may want to know for sure what they’re going to do with Bryant before the December 2 non-tender deadline, and the Dodgers may prefer to wait out the Arenado market to see if more favorable terms emerge by later in the offseason.