Former Los Angeles Dodgers player we'll wish stayed: Justin Turner
Call me crazy, but Justin Turner has a case for being one of the most important players in Los Angeles Dodgers history, thanks to what he was able to provide the team both on the field and off of it. He never won an MVP and he never led the league in any major offensive categories. Instead, he became the team's unofficial "captain" and provided the club with a steady presence throughout what became a nine-year tenure in L.A.
After failing to find any sustained success in four years with the Mets and two with the Orioles to start his career in the big leagues, Turner joined the Dodgers in February of 2014 on a minor league deal as a 29-year-old who could potentially be wrapping up his career at the game's highest level.
Instead, he immediately proved his value to the club, filling in admirably for the oft-injured Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe in the Dodgers infield. In 109 games, he hit seven home runs with a .340 average and 155 OPS+. This was just the beginning for Turner, who kept his high-level performance going each year all the way until the end.
While he never blew anyone away with his glovework at third base, Turner's bat was otherworldly for the Dodgers. He consistently hit at or above .300 and also had a knack for showing up when it mattered most in the postseason. As a matter of fact, Turner's postseason career consists of 13 home runs in 86 games, with 43 runs scored and 42 driven in. He's always been able to come through in the clutch.
Last year, he was statistically above-average with the bat, but he perhaps was beginning to show his age a bit. In 128 games, he hit 36 doubles and 13 home runs with an OPS+ of 117. He also was the slowest runner in the entire league, and seemed no longer capable of playing third base on an every day basis.
This is without mentioning the fact that he had a $16M option tied to his name for the 2023 season. There was just no way the Dodgers were going to pony up and pay him that kind of money, regardless of how great he'd been over the years. His option was declined and he signed with the Boston Red Sox. Like Trea Turner, Justin's presence will be missed now that the injuries are beginning to stack up for the 2023 Dodgers.