Dodgers want Justin Turner back but haven’t decided to pick up his option yet

LAS VEGAS — There are “near-term decisions” and “nearer” ones – and those are getting nearer all the time.

As the baseball offseason officially kicked off with the GM Meetings this week, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and General Manager Brandon Gomes started ticking off those decisions, declining three of the four club options the Dodgers held for 2023 – Hanser Alberto, Danny Duffy and Jimmy Nelson.

But one club option remains undecided. The Dodgers have until Thursday (five days after the conclusion of the World Series) to decide whether to exercise the option in Justin Turner’s contract and bring the 37-year-old third baseman/DH back in 2023 at a $16 million salary.

“He is a priority for us in terms of him being with us,” Friedman said Tuesday. “We’re still working through our payroll and other needs and trying to balance everything together as much as we can to figure out what that looks like. That’s what we’re working on right now.

“The priority is that we show up in Glendale and for him to be a part of what we’re doing next year. What exactly that looks like, we need time to work through.”

The issue, then, would seem to be how much the Dodgers are willing to pay Turner, who will turn 38 later this month. Overall, Turner’s numbers were down in 2022. His OPS (.788) and OPS-plus (116) were his lowest since he was a part-time player with the New York Mets in 2013. But he was one of the best hitters in the National League during the second half of the season (a .319 average and .889 OPS after the All-Star break).

The Dodgers could decline Turner’s option and negotiate a new contract at a lower salary – an eventuality Friedman would not comment on.

“The thing that I can answer right now is that my hope is when we show up in Glendale in February that he is with us in Dodger blue,” Friedman said.

The other club options were much easier decisions. Alberto was a popular personality and a positive influence in the clubhouse, but he hit just .244 in a limited role and was not on the Dodgers’ roster for the NL Division Series against the Padres.

Of the three whose club options were declined, though, only Alberto pitched for the Dodgers in 2022.

Duffy has not pitched in the majors since they acquired him in July 2021. He underwent flexor tendon surgery a year ago and re-signed as a free agent with the Dodgers to attempt a comeback. He made seven appearances in the minor leagues late in the 2022 season but would have been due a $7 million salary if the Dodgers picked up his option for 2023.

Nelson, 33, has not pitched since July 2021 and spent this year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in August 2021. The oft-injured right-hander has thrown a total of 51 innings since the end of the 2017 season (29 with the Dodgers in 2021). Since originally signing with the Dodgers in January 2020, he has had back surgery and also had shoulder and elbow injuries while with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Dodgers could have brought Nelson back for 2023 at a $1.1 million salary. Like Alberto and Duffy, he becomes a free agent instead.


The Dodgers also have to decide by Thursday whether to extend qualifying offers to their eligible free agents – a group that includes pitcher Clayton Kershaw for the second consecutive year.

Last fall, the Dodgers did not extend the qualifying offer to Kershaw because it would have forced the three-time Cy Young Award winner to make a decision about his future at a point in the offseason when his health was still very much an unknown.

This year, players have to decide whether to accept or decline the qualifying offer by Nov. 20. Accepting the offer means they return on a one-year, $19.65 million contract. Kershaw re-signed with the Dodgers after the lockout was settled last spring, agreeing to a one-year contract that paid him $17 million plus $3 million more for incentives he achieved.

Friedman said the Dodgers have spoken with Kershaw and “it is a priority for him to come back.” They have not made a decision on the qualifying offer with the same respect to Kershaw’s offseason timetable – “we’ll figure that out,” Friedman said.

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“Things just feel more right in the world when Kershaw is wearing a Dodgers uniform,” he said. “That’s just how it lands with us. But we couldn’t respect more him and Ellen (Kershaw’s wife) going through this process. But it’s definitely a real priority for us and hopeful he will be with us in Glendale.”


The Dodgers claimed outfielder Luke Williams on waivers from the Miami Marlins.

Williams, 26, was a third-round draft pick out of Dana Hills High School in 2015 and has spent time in the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Marlins, batting .240 with a .625 OPS. Last season, he hit .236 with six home runs in 79 games combined between the Giants and Marlins.

With Cody Bellinger’s future in Los Angeles uncertain, the Dodgers could be in the market for a new center fielder. But Williams has played more in left field than center and profiles more in a utility role. He played first, second and third base last season.

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