Dodgers: Loss of Kiké Hernandez to Red Sox makes Justin Turner even more important

The Dodgers lost a key figure in Kiké Hernandez. They can’t do the same with Justin Turner.

It’s clear the Los Angeles Dodgers are undergoing a shift in identity. It’s not a bad thing. Changes are coming and there will be more new faces than not wearing Dodger Blue within the next three years. It happens. The good news is that Andrew Friedman is a master at making these transitions and keeping LA in contention.

But we can’t overlook the official departure of Kiké Hernandez, who signed with the Boston Red Sox this weekend. Everyone knew it was going to happen, but that doesn’t make it any less upsetting. Hernandez was an important member of this team and a key figure in upholding its identity.

If not for him, the Dodgers aren’t the same dominant squad that stood atop Major League Baseball from 2015-2020. Heck, they might not even win the 2020 World Series without him! It’s just a fact. His personality brought an overwhelming sense of comfort and fun to the dugout, and his signature moments were among the most memorable during that stretch.

A true LA fan understands Hernandez’s contributions and how they’ll live on forever in Dodgers lore. But this run is over and it’s time to move on.

However, now that it’s done, bringing back Justin Turner has never been more vital to the fabric of this franchise. Simply put, the Dodgers can’t afford to lose two influential members of the organization in one single offseason, especially since the futures of Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager and Kenley Jansen — three more iconic figures — are in doubt after the 2021 season.

After the 2022 campaign, the only player guaranteed a contract is Mookie Betts.

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Turner is the next longest-tenured position player on the Dodgers. He’s been with the organization since 2014 (which was just about the start of LA’s current run) and many close to the team have called him the heart and soul of the roster. One could argue Hernandez was a close second.

It’s clear that there’s a changing of the guard in some respect with Betts, Walker Buehler, and Cody Bellinger/Corey Seager (depending on which one of them stays), but the front office can’t allow the team to be stripped of all of its veteran familiarity in just a few months.

It’s clear why Turner still remains the Dodgers’ top priority, according to reports, but now those efforts should become even more magnified with the loss of Hernandez.