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Dodgers Offseason: Pros and Cons for Bringing Back Justin Turner

It’s time for another pro/con list about the Dodgers offseason. This time, we’re going to dig into Justin Turner. Should Los Angeles bring him back for a 10th season in blue, or should they let him go? Let’s look at the pros and cons for bringing JT back.

First, the pros:



Turner is a Dodgers legend, and even though he started his career by playing in three other organizations including in the majors with two of them, at this point it would be really, really weird to see him in another uniform. Turner is a team leader, a pillar of the community, and a guy they’ve talked about having a future with the organization even after his playing days — Dave Roberts has even mentioned JT as his eventual replacement as manager. Perhaps the biggest reason to bring JT back is that it just feels right.

But maybe even more importantly, he’s still a very good hitter. After a horrendous first month or so of the 2022 season, Turner was one of the best hitters in baseball from June on. He will eventually stop hitting, and his struggles at the beginning of the season put it in a lot of people’s minds that the regression might be here at last. But his last few months of the season suggest that he’s still roughly as good as he ever was.

But yes, there are cons:

The regression will come, and even though he recovered well in 2022, that first month or so showed us what it might look like when it does come. Will it be in 2023? No one knows, and that uncertainty is definitely an argument against bringing him back.

JT’s postseason performance the last two years also is cause for concern. Yes, it’s only a total of 13 games, but after being a postseason legend his first seven seasons in L.A., his last three playoff series have produced a .116 batting average and a .356 OPS. Recency bias is real, and what we remember in our minds is JT unable to catch up with postseason fastballs.

And finally, there’s the question of defense. When Turner came to the Dodgers, he was a man without a position, and he turned himself into a very good defensive third baseman. But one area where we’ve definitely seen the effect of age is his defense, and nearly half of his plate appearances came as the designated hitter in 2022. That proportion only figures to skew even more towards DH, and the Dodgers have mostly shown a preference for using the DH to rest multiple players rather than having a full-time DH.

If the Dodgers are going to bring Turner back, it might have to be with an understanding that his role is changing. As a part-time DH and a bat off the bench, he could provide offense that would, when combined with his leadership in the clubhouse and the dugout, make it more than worth it to bring him back.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. He's been blogging about baseball and the Dodgers 2004 and doing it professionally since 2015. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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11 Comments

  1. look what he has done for the dodgers and the fans he puts on events for dodger fans keep him for maybe a coach within the club

  2. Keep Justin Turner he is a good leader and everyone respect him and he is great hitter and can cover Third Base better than any one. Keep him at least another year

  3. Bring Justin Turner and give him a good price and let him play one more year. He is an asset to the team

  4. Let’s not suggest the man can no longer hit. He was top 5 on the team in almost every category and his OPS+ was still 16% better than league average even with his dreadful first half. While he’s certainly slowed defensively, it’s not like he’s kicking balls or throwing it all over the place and he still managed a few highlight plays at third.
    Twice he signed team friendly contracts and this alone demands reciprocation. He’s a productive player, a team and city legend, and the Dodgers can afford it. Resigning him – in my opinion – is no brainer.

    1. And of course he WANTS TO RETURN. JT is being patient to cause he understands the other holes on the roster need some attention and I’m sure not getting that $16 million isn’t going to deter him because he’ll most likely get a deal both sides would be good with. Will he be an everyday player? Probably not but I don’t believe that will be an issue for him anyway.

  5. As a part time third baseman and DH, who could the Dodgers sign that would contribute more than JT especially at the salary he will receive? There is no reason not to sign him.

  6. Sign him! JT does a lot for the community and for others. He still has what it takes to be a productive player for the Dodgers!! KEEP HIM!

  7. You can bring Albert to the dodgers after the angles snubbed him. You can bring jt back. Dodgers are the l a team, not the pretender. J T is the soul of the team. A pillar in the community. 21

  8. No disrespect to JT but it’s time to move on while he’s still barely trying to hang on. He has to realize his skills are regressing, where the more younger and athletic guys are coming in. He shouldn’t take away a roster spot as the team needs more energy and athleticism. I don’t want to see you keep hanging your head whenever you under -perform to your standards. It was great what you have done in the past and your generous community work, but you have to know what is best for the team.

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