How Justin Turner’s departure represents the opposite change of the Dodgers

When Noah Syndergaard selected Dodgers in free agency, he mentions how “everything they touch turns to gold.”

The Dodgers team has developed a remarkable tendency to make the most of players who want to get back to their old form, turn their careers around, or find a level of play never seen before. It is for pitchers and players alike, from Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney last year to Max Muncy and Chris Taylor in previous years.

But there may not have been a better poster child or catalyst for this phenomenon of the past decade Justin Turnerwho was abandoned by meet after the 2013 season before overhauling his swing and becoming one of the Dodgers’ all-time great third players.

Turner was worth 0.7 wins over his replacement (Baseball Reference) for four seasons in New York before not being bid. The Dodgers signed him in the minor league with an invitation to practice in the spring of February 2014. Over the next nine seasons, he amassed 34 bWARs while serving as a mainstay in the community. your local community. His enormous efforts with the Justin Turner Foundation paid off this year when he won the Roberto Clemente Award.

Now, the Southern California native is moving on after agreeing to a two-year, nearly $22 million deal with Boston.

Baseball executive chairman Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers have expressed a desire to bring Turner back, but the odds of losing him are always high after they turned down his $16 million club option and paid give him a $2 million buyback. In essence, the Dodgers and Red Sox swapped appointees. The Turner news broke not long after the Dodgers signed J.D. Martinez to a one-year contract.

Unfortunately, there were more expensive departures on the field. Trea Turnerone of the most coveted stops in freelance agency, signed a massive 11 year contract with Phillies. Anderson, an All-Star for the first time this year and the Dodgers’ 2022 lead in pitches, made his way down the highway to Angel.

But amid so many significant changes for the Dodgers, there may be no more important exit than Justin Turner, in terms of his leadership and what he means to the team and the city over the decade. past century.

Turner departs as the Dodgers’ all-time post-season lead in played, hit, doubles, home run, run and RBI games, stats indicative of both sustained success of the franchise during his tenure with the team and the third player’s contributions in making it successful. .

He changed his career with the Dodgers, from being a light utility player in Baltimore and New York for one of the most trusted giants at the heart of the Dodgers order. After hitting a total of eight times going home in 318 matches between oriole and Mets, he made 50 debuts in his first three seasons with the Dodgers. He went on to become one of the Dodgers’ three third junior players in the 100-man club alongside Ron Cey and Adrian Beltre, as well as a member of the franchise’s successful 1,000 club. He averaged 133 OPS+ in Los Angeles and was an above-average scorer in each of his nine seasons with the franchise.

He also has a knack for taking his game to the next level when it matters most. In 2017, he achieved one of the most memorable home runs in the Dodgers’ post-season history when he stepped off the field. childrens in Game 2 of the National League Series Championship with a three-run homer, knocking out all four of the Dodgers’ runs for a 4-1 win. The explosion happened exactly 29 years after Kirk Gibson’s iconic World Series final against Like.

Turner, a Lakeview native who won the College World Series championship at Cal State Fullerton, still remembers exactly where he was as a kid at his grandmother’s house when Gibson hit that hammer homer. His unique memories of the Dodgers post-season lore are made even more special.

He was in that position after making the decision to re-sign with the Dodgers while at Kenley Jansentheir team in Curacao in December 2016. Both Turner and Jansen signed new long-term contracts that month, and both players played key roles in the Dodgers’ three World Series trips from 2017 to 2020.

Now, the two are in Boston (Jansen left the Dodgers last year). former MVP Cody Bellinger in Chicago. Trea Turner is in Philadelphia. A youth movement will soon begin, because of prospects like Miguel Vargas, James Outman and Bobby Miller is about to make an impact. It was a significant revenue season in Los Angeles, one unlike most during the Dodgers’ long winning streak and one that came after a shocking early knockout that had ruined the franchise-best 111-win season.

The departures outnumbered the adders as the Dodgers tried to preserve their split crown while also resetting their luxury tax penalties. Even after signing with Syndergaard and Martinez and re-signing Clayton KershawThe Dodgers have lost about nine net wins in free agent based on last season’s FanGraphs WAR totals:


Trea Turner: 6.3 War

Tyler Anderson: 4.0

Justin Turner: 2.4

Cody Bellinger: 1.7

Andrew Heaney: 1.1

Chris Martin: 1.6

Tommy Kahnle: 0.0


Noah Syndergaard: 2.2

J.D. Martinez: 1.0

Shelby Miller: 0.4

Clayton Kershaw: 3.8

JP Feyereisen: 1.0

Yonny Hernandez: -0.3

The addition of all the Dodgers free agents combined (8.1 fWAR) is not equal to the value of just two Turners (8.7).

Even at 37 years old last season, Justin Turner is still an above-average scorer. But the mark and impact he left in Los Angeles went far beyond his clutch strike. He is the only three-time winner of the Roy Campanella Award, given to Dodger, who embodied the spirit and leadership of the late catcher in the Hall of Fame and was recognized by players and coaches. voted. He even had a date named by the Los Angeles City Council in 2019 due to his charity work.

As the pandemic hit, Turner began buying meals from local restaurants to distribute to children who were relying on the hot lunches that schools usually provide.

“I think we delivered almost a million meals in an eight-month period,” Turner said upon accepting this year’s Clemente Prize. “So whenever there’s a need in the city of Los Angeles, we’re ready to go.”

That, like anything, will be Turner’s lasting impact and a void that will not be easily filled.

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Rowan Kavner covers the Dodgers and NL West for FOX Sports. Previously he was the editor of digital and print publications of the Dodgers. Follow him on Twitter at @Rowan Kavner.

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