3 Dodgers who will benefit most from Universal DH
1. Justin Turner
So much of the Universal DH conversation has focused on preserving Justin Turner despite the fact he’s coming off a year where he just played in a career-high 151 games. Only four of those featured him in the DH spot. But it eventually caught up to him when he left with a serious hamstring injury in the NLCS. And then the final nail was hammered into the Dodgers’ coffin.
Turner’s another guy who’s been labeled as oft-injured, dating back to his tenure with the New York Mets. Even in LA, though, he’s appeared in 947 out of a possible 1,194 games (that’s 247 games missed over eight years, and an average of 31 per year). Nobody’s going to be healthy every year and reach the 150 mark, but Turner’s only done that twice in his entire career.
Entering his age-37 season, preservation will be of paramount concern, especially with his hefty $16 million team option for 2023 expected to be magnified as the year goes on. And though it’s a small sample size, Turner, in 30 games as a DH (129 plate appearances), is hitting .352 with a .940 OPS.
Cycling in Edwin Rios at third base to get a lefty bat in the lineup or eventually giving some reps at the hot corner to Miguel Vargas later in 2022 could really help switch things up for LA. And what if the Dodgers surprise us all and sign a guy like Kris Bryant? He can snag reps all over the field, including most at third base, which is where he’s played most of his career.
Anywhere between 60-75 games of Turner at DH is helpful for his longevity as well as the Dodgers’ lineup flexibility.