Well, we have our decision on Justin Turner’s 2023 option. As expected (for me, at least) the Dodgers declined Turner’s 2023 $16 million option and will give him a $2 million buyout.
While I think Turner returns to LA, he’s a free agent now and there’s a realistic possibility that he’s played his final game for the Dodgers.
Like I mentioned, I was expecting this to be the outcome. Though Turner was productive in the second half for the Dodgers, I didn’t think LA would want to bring him back for $16 million.
Overall, Turner finished 2022 with a 2.0 bWAR and 116 OPS+, very solid numbers considering he was 37 years young. He was especially solid over the second half, as once Joe Musgrove said he wasn’t a threat he turned into one of the top hitters in the National League.
Over his final 59 games, Turner hit .349/.419/.549/.968 with nine home runs, 16 doubles and 43 RBI. However, he struggled in the postseason for the second straight season. Over his last 13 playoff games, Turner is hitting .116 with an OPS of 356. Not great!
He clearly proved he still has it at the plate, but I’m not certain if the Dodgers want him to be an every day player in 2023, especially with a young talent like Miguel Vargas waiting in the wings.
For Turner, he could be very valuable in a utility role, like what we saw the Dodgers do with Chase Utley and David Freese years back. Turner could still see a start at third base every now and then, along with DH a few times a week, but I think the Dodgers would prefer to offer more playing time to younger players.
I’m not sure what Turner’s market will be, but I would think the Dodgers could work out a team-friendly deal to bring him back. I’m sure Turner would prefer to return to LA, but he’s more than earned the option to chase the bag if another team offers it.
Hopefully he’s back in Dodger blue in 2023, because I think he’s vital to the Dodgers’ success.