The Dodgers need to keep Justin Turner beyond 2020. He’s part of the fabric of their franchise.
Don’t overthink this one, Dodgers.
Don’t start calculating the financial impact of what Justin Turner’s age-39 season might look like. Don’t attempt to figure out how he still gets to 500 at-bats in future years, as a vaunted class of prospects approaches. Don’t try to discern whether postseason poise is something genuine and special, or simply another outlier in an increasingly analytical game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers print money. They always will. They’ll have more than enough to give Turner his cash at season’s end without the deal interfering whatsoever with any other maneuver they plan to make.
And they should. He’s that good. He’s historically great.
Through a combination of playing in a modern era featuring an expanded postseason and leading the NL West champion Dodgers to the playoffs every damned year, Turner has managed to rack up a series of historic franchise-best postseason numbers for one of the most vaunted teams in all of baseball.
Can the Dodgers win without Turner? Sure. We’re not going to act as if he’s the foundational Jenga piece upon which the entire best-in-the-NL Dodgers operate. But if you can plug a versatile leader, contact bat and power threat like Turner into the lineup for the next several seasons, why would you ever want to find out what life is like without him?
For goodness sakes, don’t be the Mets.
There are postseason performers whose flair for the dramatic becomes its own story, like David Ortiz and Derek Jeter.
But there are also exceptional October bats who are intrinsic to the experience because they have an additional gear. They can breathe deeply and pretend it’s mid-August. Every at-bat looks exactly the same, regardless of situation. That’s Turner.
You don’t have to worry about finding enough at-bats for all parties. The best-laid plans of mice and men always evaporate. Injuries always clear a path. And plus, Turner’s been repeatedly willing to change positions if need be, approaching the front office numerous times about various acquisitions and signings.
Turner can be had for money alone this offseason, even though he’s clearly invaluable. If the Dodgers nickel and dime one of the defining players in their franchise’s history, they could pay the price.