Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner has an uncertain future right at the moment, with Los Angeles having until Thursday to decide whether to exercise their $16 million option on the team leader for 2023. What’s not uncertain, though, is how the Dodgers feel about JT.
L.A. president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman made it clear on Tuesday that the team wants Turner back next year.
Some GM meeting updates from Andrew Friedman:
Dodgers haven't decided yet whether they'll pick up Justin Turner's option (deadline is Thursday), but Friedman emphasized that: “My hope is when we show up in Glendale in February, he is with us in Dodger blue.”
— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) November 9, 2022
Here’s the full quote, via Juan Toribio and MLB.com
“He is a priority for us in terms of him being with us,” Friedman said. “The priority is that when we show up in Glendale, [Ariz.], for him to be a part of what we’re doing next year. What exactly that looks like, we need time to work through.”
Now, you might be thinking, “If the Dodgers want him back, why don’t they just exercise his option?” That ultimately might be what they end up doing, but even a team with pockets as deep as the Dodgers tries to be as smart as possible with their money. While they’d love to have JT back, they’d surely love to have him back for $8 million a lot more than they’d love to have him back for $16 million.
But still, the Dodgers love Justin Turner, and Justin Turner loves the Dodgers. There’s no reason these two sides can’t get something worked out and find a deal that makes both sides happy.
Turner had his worst season in nine years with the Dodgers this year, but most of that was due to a lousy first month. For the last four months or so of the 2022 season, Turner was as good offensively as he’s ever been. He struggled in the postseason for the second straight year, but we don’t really know how much of that was due to a shin injury he suffered late in the regular season.
There will come a time when JT isn’t going to be on the Dodgers, but it doesn’t seem like either side is ready for that time quite yet.
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