Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner both spoke with Doug Padilla of ESPN.com to discuss their decisions to return to the Dodgers organization this winter. As the pair explains, they were in Curacao for Jansen’s wedding along with teammates Yasiel Puig and Scott Van Slyke and hadn’t discussed baseball for the first several days of the trip. Amusingly, it was during a haircut when the barber asked the duo about their free agency that they first discussed the decisions at hand with each other and eventually their teammates. “I don’t think either one of us was trying to pressure anyone to make any decision, we were just laying out the options and different situations and experiences,” said Turner. Jansen said that none of the teammates in attendance pressured him, instead respecting any decision he’d make, which only further instilled a bond and a sense of family. Jansen adds that the Dodgers upped their offer from four years to five shortly before his wedding, which helped to tip the scale in Los Angeles’ favor.
“When we were all together it made it tough for me to make a decision to be in another uniform,” said Jansen. “…A few days before my wedding, it seemed as if I was going to Washington. But after the Dodgers came at the end, I couldn’t leave. I wanted to stay.” Dodgers fans should absolutely check out the story in its entirety, as its stuffed with quotes from the newly re-signed pair of stars.
More on the Dodgers…
- Dodgers president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman spoke with reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, about his team’s needs at second base, and while he wouldn’t comment specifically on the reported impasse with the Twins in their talks for Brian Dozier, he spoke in general terms about the difficult negotiations. “Throughout the course of a negotiation process there are ups and downs,” said Friedman. “So it’s just a tough thing to assess. But there are a number of different options out there. I think some are more likely than others. But three days from now I could feel very differently and those things could flip.” Plunkett reports that the Dodgers have kept in contact with Chase Utley’s representatives this season, though he doesn’t characterize the extent of their interest at this juncture.
- MLB.com’s Austin Laymance was also on-hand, and he writes that Friedman offered plenty of praise for Puig and spoke of the outfielder as a piece of the team’s future. “I think the upside is significant, and I think there’s a lot more awareness of kind of what’s expected,” said Friedman. “I definitely see some real maturation. In terms of how that translates on the field and success remains to be seen. But he’s capable of so much, and I know his teammates want to see him achieve that, we want to see him achieve that, and we’ll do everything we can to put him in a position to do that.” Friedman suggested that Puig has developed some bad habits in the batter’s box over the years but made progress in correcting them during his demotion to Triple-A. “What we saw in September was just kind of scratching the surface of that…” Friedman added, referencing a month that saw Puig rake at a .281/.338/.561 clip (albeit in just 65 PAs). Puig’s name has been bandied about the rumor mill for the past year or so, but a trade doesn’t seem especially likely at this point.
- Outfielder Trayce Thompson has “slowly progressed” from a pair of stress fractures in his back that preemptively ended his season back in July, per Friedman (via Laymance). He’s yet to swing a bat and may not be ready for early workouts in Spring Training, but the Dodgers believe he’ll be up to speed at some point before the regular season begins. “We expect him, at some point in Spring Training, to be kind of full go,” said the Dodger president.