Turner has laid out the extent of his discussions with the Dodgers on a potential extension. Outside of a brief conversation before last winter’s lockout that didn’t get into specifics, the two sides haven’t had much in terms of talks. Some of that is the Dodgers’ preference and some Turner’s. The Dodgers told Turner shortly before the season they wouldn’t be making him an offer before Opening Day. Turner, who said he was open to talks, stated his preference was to not negotiate during the season.
Oh, and that “Turner wants to play on the East Coast business?”
There was also a perception that Turner was not happy being sent to the West Coast and would not likely sign a long-term deal to stay out west. A Florida native, Turner played college baseball at North Carolina State where he met his wife, Kristen, who is also an East Coast native.
Turner acknowledges that he helped create that perception.
“I originally said that so I wouldn’t necessarily get traded to certain places. I was trying to control as much as I could – because a lot of it was out of my control,” he said. “Yeah, I’m an East Coast guy. But with free agency, you get a chance to pick and control it as much as you can in your entire career. I’m open to anything really. Everything is in play.
“That was more for a trade and an extension in a place I didn’t really know. I didn’t want to get traded and then get offered an extension right away and not know anything about the city and stuff. … To me, that (decision) would be all based off money and that’s not how I want to make my decision. Obviously, that’s a factor but a lot more goes into it. I think it was more of that.
“Yeah, I’m from the East Coast. Would I like to go back? Sure. But I think L.A.’s been really good to me.”
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This much is already clear. The Dodgers made history this season. Regardless of what happens once the Dodgers open the NLDS next Tuesday against either the Mets or the Padres, this group will remain the comparison for the elite clubs should they ever encroach upon such heights.
“Winning 100 games is crazy,” Turner said. “The fact that we won 111 is wild.”
But that legacy will be settled in the crapshoot of October. The 116-win 2001 Mariners got bounced in the ALCS. Cleveland won 111 games in 1954, only to get swept out of the World Series. Those 1906 Cubs? They lost the series in six games. And of the 110-win clubs that wound up raising the trophy, only one — the 1998 Yankees — survived three rounds of the postseason to do so.
That format shifts again this October. Despite their brush with history, the Dodgers entered Wednesday with the third-best odds (14.4 percent) of winning the World Series, according to FanGraphs. Should the Mets advance past the Padres in the new Wild Card Series, the Dodgers will face a 100-win club in the first round for the second consecutive year.
This is the gauntlet ahead, and it’s one Roberts embraces.
“Fans don’t want to hear that,” he said. “Media doesn’t want to hear that. They don’t care if you had to go four rounds or five rounds to get to the World Series. If the Dodgers don’t win this season, there’s a subset that’s going to feel that we choked, we aren’t a good team, it was a lost season. It doesn’t matter. That factual narrative isn’t going to change with some people, but that’s just noise for our guys.
“We can’t change that. We can’t change the structure. The structure is different than it was in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. This is where we’re at right now. We have to abide and play. Our guys aren’t going to make excuses. We have to win three series, and that’s what we expect to do.”
That’s the expectation the Dodgers have put on themselves. Questions or concerns about injuries and roster decisions aside, they’ve won the games. They’ve set the records. And once Tuesday arrives at Dodger Stadium, that washes away until it becomes the polish for whatever the end result is.
“First tournament’s over,” Freeman said. “Now the big tournament starts. No one cares what your numbers were or how many wins you have starting Tuesday. It’s the first one to 11 (wins).”