Is this Justin Turner understanding how the business of Major League Baseball works … or is it him expressing frustration with the Los Angeles Dodgers? Perhaps that’s up to fans to interpret from his latest interview with AM 570 LA Sports.
Turner popped on the local radio to talk about the Dodgers declining his team option for the 2023 season, which resulted in a $2 million buyout for the slugger (the option was worth $16 million).
But while Turner technically revealed why the team went in that direction, there still wasn’t a ton of clarity. And Turner himself doesn’t really know where he stands even after talking to Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts.
Is it possible Turner feels a certain way because the Dodgers are “trying to figure out what they need to do” before they make a decision on someone who’s been with the organization throughout its most successful era of baseball in franchise history?
Either way, Turner told Petros and Money that the front office is working things out with the payroll/luxury tax situation as they determine next steps as it pertains to free agency/trades.
Justin Turner reveals why the Dodgers rejected his team option for 2023
Then again, he seemed content waiting on the Dodgers’ process, so there probably aren’t any hard feelings. Turner’s been in the league for 14 years and very much understands the business side of the sport, so he’s not blindsided by any of this.
He reiterated that he loves being a Dodger and that he’s been through this type of situation before following the 2020 season when there were various other financial concerns stemming from the pandemic (and the $365 million extension given to Mookie Betts).
Then again, the Dodgers have only $116 million committed to the 2023 payroll … so what are their concerns? Bringing back Turner shouldn’t exactly make-or-break their CBT situation unless there are multiple top-end free agents being considered.
Not paying ~$18 million to Cody Bellinger for the 2023 season is something that should be a reasonable conundrum for the Dodgers. Bellinger has been worth a 1.5 WAR since the start of 2020. Paying less for Turner, who’s much more integral to the organization’s cultural fabric, seems like less of a pressing issue.
After a disastrous first half to 2022, Turner rebounded and finish with a .788 OPS and 116 OPS+. He’s been worth a 7.2 WAR since the start of 2020. This feels like less of a “business decision” and more of a “shake things up” decision, if you were to ask the fans.