The World Series-champion Los Angeles Dodgers have a handful of long-time position players testing free agency this offseason such as Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, and Enrique Hernandez. With a loaded roster across the board and a handful of hefty contracts on their payroll — and more coming down the road — it’s feasible to think that the Dodgers will lose at least one of these players.
All three of the aforementioned individuals are impactful players who could make a difference on any team. If indeed one or more of them leave Los Angeles, where could they end up? Here are landing spots for Turner, Pederson, and Hernandez.
Justin Turner: Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto created a vacancy at the hot corner by non-tendering Travis Shaw. While Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could slide back to the position, he’s more likely to hold down the fort at first base. How about Toronto inks Turner?
The 36-year-old remains one of the best all-around players at his respective position. He makes plays off his backhand with ease and is one of the best pure hitters in Major League Baseball. Across his seven seasons with the Dodgers (2014-20), Turner has posted an OPS no lower than .860 and posted an OPS+ no lower than 121. He has a smooth, line-drive swing that generates slug and moves runners across the basepaths.
The Blue Jays have a deep positional core that includes Guerrero, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Teoscar Hernandez, among others. Turner would bring a veteran presence to a young infield and add a reliable, contact hitter to complement their vibrant bats.
Turner would improve manager Charlie Montoyo‘s roster from all aspects of the game. A short-term deal deepens Turner’s pockets and enhances the Blue Jays chances of returning to the American League playoffs.
Joc Pederson: Oakland Athletics
Yes, he hit .190 last season. At the same time, Pederson is a capable power hitter who checks a lot of boxes for the A’s.
Oakland is all about power in the box and versatility in the field; Pederson is all about that, too. The left-handed hitter is a year removed from hitting 36 home runs. From 2015-19 he blasted 123 home runs while posting an .818 OPS. Pederson has a long, effective power swing from the left side that has been consistently utilized as both a starter and pinch hitter with the Dodgers.
Meanwhile, he has extensive experience playing both left and center field while dabbling in right field and first base. A’s manager Bob Melvin‘s outfield/designated hitter rotation includes Mark Canha, Ramon Laureano, Tony Kemp, Stephen Piscotty, and Khris Davis while Chad Pinder gets reps all over the field. Pederson can platoon with Piscotty in right while backing up Laureano in center and perhaps even getting some time in left. The options would be plentiful.
Plus, Oakland first baseman Matt Olson has dealt with numerous injuries over the last four years. Pederson can step in at the corner infield position, if need be. The A’s could get a player who’s right up their alley at a discount given his 2020 campaign.
Enrique Hernandez: Cleveland Indians
The Indians may be trading Francisco Lindor and Cesar Hernandez is a free agent, meaning one way or another they’re going to have to add a middle infielder. Why not sign a player who can play both middle infield positions as well as all three outfield positions?
Hernandez has been an unsung hero and/or held back a bit by the Dodgers depth over the last four years. Now he gets the chance to be a permanent starter without interruptions elsewhere, a role he’s capable of fulfilling. Hernandez has mostly been a power threat in the batter’s box, totaling 38 home runs and 116 RBIs across consistent playing time from 2018-19.
Defensively, Hernandez has started at every position except catcher. He fields his primary position (second base) well, making plays in the hole and posting an eight DRS at the position last season.
Hernandez gives any manager a bevy of options in the field. By committing to Hernandez, perhaps on a three-to-four-year deal, the Indians get their second baseman of the future and could continue retooling with the haul they get from a team in a prospective Lindor trade. Maybe Enrique settles down at the plate with more job security?