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Dodgers bet on Justin Turner, opt for roster depth in Todd Frazier trade

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David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The bottom line from Wednesday's three-team, seven-player trade with the Reds and White Sox was that the Dodgers didn't get the one name, impact player of the deal in Todd Frazier, though that was considered by Los Angeles.

"Todd's obviously a really good major league player, and a really good third baseman," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Wednesday. "We happen to feel like we've got a really good third baseman as well, in Justin Turner."

Frazier has hit 64 home runs in the last two years, including 35 in 2015 while hitting .255/.309/.498. Over the last two seasons Frazier hit .264/.322/.479, a .346 wOBA and 118 wRC+.

Turner during that time has hit .314/.384/.496, a .381 wOBA and 148 wRC+.

Granted, Turner has had far less playing time than Frazier during that span - 761 plate appearances to 1,338 for Frazier - giving Frazier the edge in WAR (between 9.1-9.3 for Frazier; between 7.2-8.1 for Turner.

In his career Turner has played all over the infield, and the Dodgers could have moved Turner to second base, but coming off October shoulder surgery the Dodgers wanted Turner to remain at his strongest position rather than switch positions or move around all year as a utility man of sorts.

That would require asking Frazier to move for the two years remaining on his contract, with left field the most likely scenario, which proved unfeasible for Los Angeles.

"Coming off knee surgery, we felt like it was in everyone's best interest for him to be locked in at third," Friedman said. "We actually talked about Todd playing different positions, but we felt like there is a chance for that to be messy."

Friedman opted for the package of three players from the White Sox instead, who give the Dodgers three players who all saw time in the majors in 2015 and could again in 2016.

"We talked about the importance of having a deep, strong farm system. Some of that is to augment our major league team and provide depth, We have guys who have a chance to work in over time that can impact our major league team, and others we can use to trade to other teams and get pieces that we need," Friedman said. "This trade helped lengthen our prospect group a little bit.

"The players we added probably fit our roster a little bit better."

With Turner at third base, second base is left to Chase Utley and Kiké Hernandez to share time, with newcomer Micah Johnson their understudy during spring training.

"Kiké brings a lot of versatility, Chase brings a lot to our group both on and off the field. We'll get into spring training and figure it out," Friedman explained. "We expect Chase to get a lot of at-bats this year, we expect Kiké to get a lot of at-bats this year. Micah will get a chance to be around them more."

Friedman was high on Frankie Montas, the right-handed pitcher received in the deal who has been clocked regularly at 100 mph.

"Frankie Montas has a tremendous right arm. Our scouts feel his fastball/slider combo is one of the best in the minor leagues," Friedman said. "There's no question in my mind he could step into a major league bullpen right now. But we're more of the mind to develop him as a starting pitcher."