As the Dodgers await closure on Kenley Jansen’s free agency, the team has continued negotiations on a multiyear contract with third baseman Justin Turner, according to people familiar with the situation who requested anonymity because the deal has not been finalized.
The Dodgers have been discussing a four-year contract with Turner, who served as the club’s most reliable right-handed hitter in 2016 and emerged as one of the leaders inside the clubhouse. He hit 27 home runs with an .832 on-base plus slugging percentage. He established himself as an every-day star while playing in a career-high 151 games.
Turner had his 32nd birthday last month. His case does not come without risk — he flunked his physical when he signed with the Dodgers in 2014 due to knee issues, and underwent microfracture surgery last winter. But the team considers his presence vital in a variety of different ways.
If the Dodgers can reach an agreement with Turner, they could cross a significant goal off their off-season to-do list. The team still requires a closer and a second baseman. Second base could be filled in a trade, or the team could reunite with Chase Utley.
Meanwhile, the wait for Jansen’s decision continues. Turner spent the weekend in Curacao, celebrating Jansen’s wedding. The festivities contributed to the delay, but when the winter meetings ended last week, Jansen was believed to be sifting through discussions with the Dodgers, Marlins and Nationals.
The Marlins made a five-year, $80-million offer, according to Yahoo Sports, but one rival executive speculated the contract would be “incredibly back-loaded,” with the majority of the money handed out in the latter portion of the deal. The Marlins are famed for off-loading free agents soon after signing them, and do not like to give out no-trade clauses.