As third baseman Justin Turner hits off the tee for the first time since his wrist injury, another injured Dodger sparks trade rumors.
After arguably one of the most entertaining World Series in baseball history, the Los Angeles Dodgers came into the 2018 season with high expectations after falling one win short of their first championship in 30 years to the Houston Astros. Those expectations may have diminished a bit for the Dodgers on Monday after they announced shortstop Corey Seager would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery to repair a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm.
The good news for the Dodgers is they have a very young team with a lot of depth on the bench and one of their veteran leaders is close to returning: Justin Turner.
Turner was injured roughly six weeks ago in a Spring Training game against the Oakland Athletics when he was hit by a pitch that fractured his left wrist. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says that he expects the 33-year-old third baseman to begin a rehab assignment later this week before returning to the Dodgers lineup in mid-May.
Turner, the pride of Mayfair High School and a California State University, Fullerton alumnus, posted a video on his Twitter account of him hitting off a tee at the Dodgers Spring Training facility in Arizona and you can tell he is itching to rejoin his teammates. Turner had a .322 batting averaging with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 130 games played last season. He also went on to win the National League Championship Series MVP, propelling the Dodgers into their first World Series appearance since 1988.
The Dodgers are currently four games under .500 at 12-16 and sit in fourth place, eight games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. With Seager going to the disabled list and the depth the Dodgers have in the organization, experts are now speculating some trade rumors.
The Dodgers could go after Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, who is in the final year of his contract with the Baltimore Orioles, as the season moves toward the trade deadline at the end of July. In order for the Dodgers to make a move of that size and stay competitive in the NL West, they need more offensive production and for Turner to post numbers similar to those from a year ago. The Dodgers are currently playing a critical four-game series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks before playing against the San Diego Padres.