2. Decline Justin Turner’s Team Option
Justin Turner has rebounded considerably after his first three months of (cumulative) wildly below-average play. He’s now up to a .260/.333/.411 slash line with 42 runs scored, 8 homers and 55 RBI in 88 games.
However, entering his age-38 season, Turner’s declining on the defensive end and has played about half of his games as a DH … but isn’t really putting up the appropriate numbers for someone who’s tasked with being a full-time hitter.
The Dodgers also have Miguel Vargas knocking on the door of the MLB roster after his debut last week. The third baseman is tearing it up at Triple-A and clearly proved he’s ready for the show after making quite an impression, which many believed put some pressure on Turner.
For the 2023 season, Turner has a $16 million team option with a $2 million buyout. The Dodgers could opt to keep him for one last go-round as the primary DH/temporary third base fill-in, but saving $14 million can help the team either add, for example, two effective relievers, one mid-rotation starter, or one reliever and one primary DH. It’s at least a two-for-one-type situation.
If we’re to guess, the Dodgers give JT one more year because of all he’s done for the franchise coupled with the fact he rebounded nicely this year and should help the team down the stretch/into October. Then again, LA kicked team legends Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez to the curb without flinching after the World Series-winning 2020 season. Anything can happen.