The Los Angeles Dodgers have declined their contract option on Justin Turner, making him a free agent for the 2023 season. It is not guaranteed that Turner will not be returning to the team, but it will likely have to be for less money than he was planning to receive. Turner was a fan favorite in Los Angeles, and the passionate fan base did not take the news of his potential departure well.
Justin Turner has been with the Dodgers since 2014 and was a critical piece of their 2020 World Series championship team. In his time with the Dodgers, he was selected to two All-Star teams. In 2022, he hit a batting average of .278 and 13 home runs. These are solid numbers, but below Turner's career averages.
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the decision themselves on their official Twitter account.
Turner has been one of the pillars of the Dodgers for the past eight seasons, and he has forged a connection with the fans. This is not a connection that can be severed easily, and many fans are upset by this news. Even those who understand the reasons behind it are having a tough time digesting it.
Justin Turner is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. It makes sense for the team to move in a younger direction, especially with the youth movement happening with their division rivals, the San Diego Padres. The duo of Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. represents how great young players can be. The Los Angeles Dodgers would love the chance to create that for themselves.
After an early playoff exit for the Los Angeles Dodgers, they are clearly looking to make changes. They won an astounding 111 games in the regular season, five more than the eventual World Series champions Houston Astros. Bringing back the same lineup along with Justin Turner would risk a similarly disappointing ending.
Justin Turner was an incredibly versatile player for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Turner was able to consistently perform at the plate and defensively from third base. He also served as a leader for a team with perennial championship aspirations. None of these are easy feats to accomplish.
Justin Turner meant a lot to the Dodgers and Los Angeles, but all good things must come to an end. Fans may bemoan the decision, but the organization must always do what puts it in the best position to win.
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