The Los Angeles Dodgers lost a slice of both their heart and soul last offseason when they declined to match Justin Turner's wishes, sending him to the hated Boston Red Sox in the process.
LA's ingenious plan to say goodbye to their offensive captain perhaps one season too early rather than one season too late, while handing the keys to Miguel Vargas, didn't exactly work as intended. Vargas found himself demoted, the team was swept out of the playoffs by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Turner somehow managed to hit over 1.000 with a runner on third and less than two outs.
Now 38, Turner's on the market again after opting out of his Red Sox contract with one year remaining. We weren't sure he was legally allowed to do that, considering he was the physical inspiration for Boston's mascot Wally the Green Monster, but somehow, MLB facilitated the deal.
And, wouldn't you know it, but another young contender in need of leadership has made him Priority No. 1 for the upcoming (very important) offseason. One year after rejuvenating Evan Longoria's career and riding a stunning heater to the World Series, the D-Backs would like to do the same with Turner.
Dodgers Rumors: Justin Turner tops Diamondbacks' wishlist
Arizona, featuring a three-starter rotation that allowed the World Series to hinge on a Joe Mantiply game, likely has bigger needs this offseason than an aging third baseman.
That said, their lineup seems likely to lose a good deal of thump, with free agency decisions still upcoming on both Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (likely to be priced out in a weak left field market) and Tommy Pham (he'll probably stay, but the cost is escalating). Longoria, too, seems undecided on his future; if Turner is sure he wants to play while Longo waffles, that might point the needle in one direction over the other, too.
He may have done it in relative regional obscurity in Boston, but Turner still looked vintage in 2023 before his leg gave way in August, racking up a 114 OPS+, 23 bombs and a .276 average, weighed down by a .221/.580 OPS September as he slunk away from the game injured. He hit a remarkable .338 with a .943 OPS in 172 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. All of Turner's patented theatrics would be a whole lot less palatable if he chose the desert as his next destination.