When the Dodgers decided not to exercise their $16 million option on Justin Turner last week, the longtime L.A. third baseman became a free agent for the third time since he came home to Los Angeles before the 2014 season. Each of the first two times, he ended up re-signing with the Dodgers — a four-year deal after 2016 and a two-year deal (with the team option) after 2020.
To hear JT talking on AM570 on Thursday, it sounds like he’s still hoping to make it three-for-three on re-signing with the team he grew up rooting for.
“The Dodgers decided not to pick up my option, so obviously, I’m in free-agent limbo. Obviously, I love being a Dodger, I love being in Los Angeles. This is home for me. But I do understand it’s also a business, and things happen and decisions are made sometimes that are out of our control.
“We’ll see what happens. I’ve been through this twice now, twice already, going through free agency [after] being a Dodger before and working it out to come back and continue to be a Dodger. So hopefully we can make it three in a row, but we’ll see what happens. …
“I’m in good standing with the Dodgers. I’ve talked to Andrew Friedman several times, I’ve talked to Dave Roberts several times. Again, it’s a business. They have some decisions to make on what they want to do as far as— You know, there’s all this crap about the luxury tax and payroll and paying, you know, a gajillion dollars in taxes because the payroll’s been high the last few years. So I think they’re trying to figure out what they need to do and prioritize what’s best for them, and then once those chips fall, we’ll see where I stand.”
— AM 570 LA Sports (@AM570LASports) November 18, 2022
You can hear it in JT’s voice at the end that there’s a little bit of regret. It might not be quite to the point of hurt feelings, but this free agency is definitely different from the last two in that, each of the first two times, the Dodgers clearly wanted him back. This time, there’s a lot more of the “it’s a business” coming into play, which is part of getting older as a ballplayer.
Turner’s playing career will come to an end someday, and his Dodgers career will come to an end someday. Hopefully those will be the same day, and it will be at a time he and the team are both happy with. But it doesn’t always happen that way, unfortunately.
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