Dodgers: What Turner’s Injury Means for the Supporting Cast

MESA, AZ - MARCH 06: Justin Turner
MESA, AZ - MARCH 06: Justin Turner /

As we all know already, Justin Turner is expected to miss some time for the Dodgers, due to his fractured wrist.

Justin Turner’s loss goes beyond just on-field production. He is the heart and soul of the Dodgers. Fortunately, he will be able to do one-half of that. Unfortunately, he cannot do the other half. We do not know when he will return; all we know is that the Dodgers do not plan on letting us know, and the speculation is that it will not be anytime before May.

With him gone, the Dodgers will need the likes of Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, and Yasiel Puig to step up. But more than that, they need their role players to step up to the plate and produce.

Los Angeles does not need Logan Forsythe, Chase Utley, Enrique Hernandez, Andrew Toles, Matt Kemp, and Joc Pederson to replicate JT’s production; they just need them to collectively alleviate as much of the burden from the stars as possible.

And to be fair, Matt Kemp and Andrew Toles are looking less and less like supporting platoon players, and more like dynamic impact players. Kemp is making many people, like yours truly, eat their pessimistic words about him.

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But Turner’s injury affects more of the guys who can play in the infield such as Logan Forsythe, Chase Utley, Chris Taylor, and Enrique Hernandez. Their responsibilities just got that much bigger.

Other than Turner, the Dodgers had five guys man the hot corner in 2017: Forsythe, Hernandez, Taylor, Kyle Farmer, and Austin Barnes. Utley has some experience from years past. Barnes and Farmer are interesting because they are primarily catchers who can play all over the infield. But, when healthy, Barnes should get most of his playing time behind the plate.

Farmer is a guy to look at because he is expected to be the third-string catcher, so with JT’s absence, he may be getting a bigger opportunity elsewhere. He started yesterday’s spring training game there, so do not be surprised if he continues to get more opportunities as the preseason comes to a close. And do not be surprised if he gets time during the regular season.

From the available healthy options, Logan Forsythe played the most there last year (301.2 innings), so it would be a safe bet to guess that he will get the bulk of the playing time there as Turner recovers. If that happens, then the Dodgers can platoon Chase Utley with any combination of Farmer, Hernandez, and Taylor (when he is not playing center field) at second. Or give it to Taylor and let a group of other players they deem worthy, take over center.

And at other times they can have Taylor at third and Forsythe at second. The Dodgers have the luxury to mix-and-match with the pieces they have because that is how Andrew Friedman and Co. built the squad. They are best-prepared to handle a significant injury like this more so than any other team.

JT’s absence means that this collection of guys will have an increased workload and responsibility. This may also help them improve because they will be getting more consistent playing time, helping down the road, and that might be the sliver of a silver lining to take away from this.

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No one else can match the Dodgers’ depth and versatility, and it is up to these guys to remind us. They will not make us forget Turner by any means, but if there is not too much of a dropoff, who can complain?