Dodgers Expected To Sign Unknown Utility Infielder, So Let’s Get Ready To Welcome Justin Turner

I think we all knew that the Dodgers were going to need to bring in some additional infield depth, because it’s all we’ve been talking about lately. This team may or may not have a second baseman, they have a shortstop who can’t stay healthy for more than ten minutes at a time, and they have a third baseman who just put up two of the worst seasons we’ve ever seen before rebounding last year.

Pitchers and catchers report in seven days, so time is drawing short, and that’s why this isn’t surprising:

So.. who is available to fit that description? (No, not Emilio Bonifacio, who is suddenly a hot name after being DFA’d by Kansas City, because he’s not a free agent, though we’ll probably have a post on him tomorrow.)

I was originally planning to come up with a list of names and sort through them, but then I looked over at MLB Trade Rumors‘ list of free agents, and saw this:

Second Basemen

None

and…

Shortstops

Stephen Drew (31)
Nick Green (35)

Oh. So let’s dispense with the games and guess that there’s a 99% chance this is going to be Justin Turner, who is listed on MLBTR with the third basemen along with Brandon Inge and Placido Polanco. I say this not because I have any particular inside information, but because the pieces just fit. First of all, the options are so, so limited, at least if we’re assuming that the player at least saw some amount of big league time in 2013. Yes, Inge counts, even if he hit .204/.261/.321 over the last three years and is 37, but he can’t really play the middle infield. Polanco is 38 and hasn’t played anywhere but third with any sort of regularity since 2009.

Turner isn’t at all great, but he’s only 29, can sorta play second, short, and third, and reportedly received interest from several teams this winter. There’s also this: he’s a Long Beach native and a Cal State Fullerton alum, and he’s married to a UCLA alum, with whom he currently lives in the LA area. No, “being from LA” doesn’t automatically make someone a Dodger, but I can’t imagine that it hurts that his wife is constantly tweeting with and at good friend Cat Belanger, who works in the Dodgers marketing department.

I’m just making connections that may not be there, but if he’s unable to find a guaranteed deal, I don’t imagine that he’s going to do better than come home to a team that has a chance to win, a big chance of playing time, and family connections. Again, though, there’s just not that much else out there. Ramon Santiago found a job. Cesar Izturis found a job. (!) Yuniesky Betancourt is employed. (!!) Chris Nelson is off the board. Omar Quintanilla is gone. Jayson Nix is gone. That leaves Turner and… Cody Ransom maybe? (Update: Cody Ransom will be playing in Japan next season, per Chris Jackson) There’s also Jeff Baker, who I’ve long said I would love for his ability to crush lefty pitching, though he may yet get a major league deal, and can’t handle shortstop.

Separately, Dylan Hernandez adds that the team may sign an “international player” to increase the infield depth, and while it’s fruitless to attempt to guess on that — considering the huge possibility it may be someone we’ve never heard of — it wouldn’t be at all unexpected if it were Rusney Castillo, who Dustin profiled in January.


About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, has been a producer and editor for Sports on Earth, and built The Hardball Times. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.


360 comments
Tntfan
Tntfan

@Mike Petriello What about Nick Franklin as a 2nd base option until Guerrero is ready and then as a bench player. Is he in fact available, and if so being a former 1st round pick, what do you think we would have to give up to get him? He's an average defender and only hit 225 last year but given the fact that Ramirez is not signed past next year and Guerrero is a SS I feel we should at least kick the tires on this guy

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

TL, DR warning. I actually considered getting season tix in the cheapest section last year, but now that they doubled the price AND instituted dynamic pricing I'm just trying to convince my sibling to change our provider.

No way DISH negotiates with Time Warner. They didn't agree on the Lakers channel, and my folks might just go open air. We are getting mailers from Time Warner BTW

Oh yeah, I may have to use the Expo line train to get to weekday home games. At least it's a plausible option during rush hour!

efb
efb

ONE MORE WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

Barney (Not Darwin)
Barney (Not Darwin)

There was another "fan" saying that the only she could afford to go see the Dodgers now was if they started losing, which they would because they won't win the NL West. Damn, people are taking this price increase pretty hard. It's not as if we didn't see it coming.

Barney (Not Darwin)
Barney (Not Darwin)

I read the comments on Yahoo about the ticket price increase and one so-called Dodger fan says he can't afford to take his family to games anymore and will be going to Anaheim now. I'm guessing he's of the fairweather persuasion.

KMT59
KMT59

time to try to go back to sleep

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

LOLLLLL WHEN I TRIED TO ORDER MY THIRD LONG ISLANS I CALLS IT A TONY LA RUSSA ohhhh thanks MSYT

Matt Kemp's Bath Towel
Matt Kemp's Bath Towel

I'm confused... are Super Bowl parties the night before the Super Bowl a thing now?

nudibranch
nudibranch

Cal hands Arizona their first loss of the season?!  Congrats Drank!

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

@Barney G  the team can't win in these situations. Low prices + crappy team = bad. High price + expensive team equals bad. 

Barney (Not Darwin)
Barney (Not Darwin)

If I can't afford Dodger tickets, I'd just stick to watching them on tv, not jumping ship to the Angels.though. I'm okay seeing the Dodgers in Anaheim but I wouldn't become an Angels fan.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@Barney G  I mean, if you want to take your family for a fun family night at a baseball stadium, it makes sense to go with the cheaper option. We could only afford 2-3 games per year when I was a kid, and we frequently mixed in Anaheim because it was cheaper.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

WANT. It's funny cuz the Yanks are OLD and Diaz is the ONLY option outside of Drew that they've got! If they signed Drew, they could bump Jeter to 3rd base at least LOL

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@PagansOedipalComplex  Some dude earlier in the comments section claims to know Turner's cousin, and said it's Turner. That's obviously not enough to run with for reporting purposes, but it seems plausible.

KMT59
KMT59

@TheReggieHurley  nope to early...still catching up on what I missed when I went to Fan Fest yesterday

Too Blue
Too Blue

Half the pitchers stay home to "get thier work in". Is it fair the Dodgers have to set thier roster early?

Hoze
Hoze

OK. Zzzz time..

Hoze
Hoze

Im like 0.5 TLR. A nice discussion about the merits or drawbacks of this roster would be cool lol 

Too Blue
Too Blue

Someone needs to explain "black tie event" to Kershaw. Maybe he just couldn't figure out how to tie it