Trea Turner arrived in Los Angeles on Friday, and was activated off the COVID-19 injured list before the series opener against the Angels. He’s not in Friday’s lineup, but will start on Saturday at second base, the position he figures to play regularly this season with the Dodgers.
“Obviously we view him as a premier shortstop, one of the superstar players in the game. But we value Corey [Seager] at shortstop, and Trea’s potential versatility with his athleticism allows for some different things,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday.”
The plan is for Turner to start at second base, moving over to shortstop when Seager gets a day off. Roberts and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman both talked to Turner in the last week about his role with the Dodgers.
Turner has played nothing but shortstop since the start of the 2017 season, but as a rookie in 2016 the bulk of his time came in center field (44 starts) and second base (25 starts). Turner expressed a preference to stay in the infield with the Dodgers.
“He embraced [second base]. Obviously his choice is, and he sees himself as a shortstop, as he should,” Roberts said. “But understanding our roster, second base certainly made sense to him, and he understands it gives us the best chance to win a championship.”
Turner is hitting .322/.369/.521 with 18 home runs, 17 doubles, and 21 stolen bases this season. He ranks third in FanGraphs WAR (4.2) and seventh in Baseball Reference WAR (4.0) among National League position players.
His addition lengthens a Dodgers lineup that already leads the National League in runs scored, and allows them to field a lineup with no real holes on most nights. The depth gives the Dodgers more latitude to bench a slumping Cody Bellinger at least against left-handers, among other things.
“Every single night there’s going to be a great player that’s not not getting the start,” Roberts said.
To make room for Turner on the active roster, the Dodgers placed Victor Gonzalez on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation. To create 40-man roster space, Jimmy Nelson was transferred to the 60-day injured list because he’s having season-ending elbow surgery to repair his right flexor tendon.
More on that Nelson injury soon.