4 Dodgers facing uncertain futures heading into 2022 season

Thomas Carannante
DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 23: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated by Justin Turner #10 as he heads to the dugout after hitting a 2 RBI home run against the Colorado Rockies in the tenth inning at Coors Field on September 23, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 23: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated by Justin Turner #10 as he heads to the dugout after hitting a 2 RBI home run against the Colorado Rockies in the tenth inning at Coors Field on September 23, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

1. Justin Turner

We didn’t want to go there, but what other choice did we have? Justin Turner will make $20 million in 2022 and then has a $16 million team option ($2 million buyout) for 2023. He just turned in one of the best seasons of his career at age 36 when he hit .278 with an .832 OPS, 123 OPS+, 27 homers and 87 RBI.

But a brutal hamstring injury knocked him out of the postseason and we just don’t know how it’ll affect his longevity. Turner’s historically been hampered by injuries, as evidenced by the fact he’s only played in 150 or more games in a single season twice since debuting in 2009, and one of those came in 2021. Seems more like an anomaly rather than something to expect heading into his age-37 campaign.

And with all this potential roster turnover coming again next offseason, do the Dodgers really want to spend $16 million on a 38-year-old third baseman when they have top prospect Miguel Vargas climbing his way up the minor-league ladder? Again, Turner could be retained as a mentor/part-time third baseman/full-time DH, but nothing is certain with the owners and players still not having a conversation since the beginning of December.

Turner is a franchise legend through and through, but the next era of Dodgers baseball is on the horizon and it’s not too outlandish to assume he may not be part of it, especially if he endures an injury-shortened 2022 or if he doesn’t put forth another All-Star campaign. The front office did right by Turner when they paid him handsomely after the 2020 season, but there’s a reason they attached a team option for the third year of this deal.

We’re not hoping for this, but the warning signs are laid out right in front of us. This Dodgers team as we know it could have a bigger facelift than anyone could’ve imagined come 2023.

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