First look at Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen in Red Sox gear will break Dodgers fans' hearts
Though it certainly felt like Justin Turner would be a Dodger for Life -- and don't get us wrong, he remains an honorary one and is welcome to come back any time -- he'll instead be playing the 2023 MLB season in Boston with the Red Sox, alongside former Dodgers teammates Kenley Jansen and Kiké Hernández.
Hernández arrived in Beantown two years ago, and went supernova in his first crack at a permanent starting job. He delivered clutch hits for the Red Sox throughout 2021 and starred in the playoffs to an unholy degree, hitting .450 with two bombs in the ALDS and .385 with three more homers against the Astros in the ALCS.
Some players just have an extra gear, and Hernández has always appeared to be one of them. After a pedestrian second season in Boston, he seems to have gotten extra hungry to feel that playoff energy once more, spending overtime recruiting Turner to join him at Fenway this winter.
Eventually, the needling worked, and the Dodgers and Red Sox swapped DHs; Turner will play out the season in Boston, while JD Martinez will attempt the rejuvenation process in LA.
The Bearded One finally showed up to Sox camp Wednesday, and suddenly, everything felt real. Get used to this, Dodgers fans -- or, if you can't, at least stare at it and learn to tolerate the reality.
Former Dodgers Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen hugging Kiké Hernández, having fun at Red Sox camp stings
It's hard to deny the fit looks natural. If Turner can't be in the sun-bleached Hollywood Hills anymore, he deserves to be in Boston, where growing a beard like that is a rite of championship passage.
But still ... it doesn't make it any easier to look at him embracing Hernández for one last ride.
And who's that coming around the bend? Kenley Jansen showing up in full uniform, smiling and agreeing to get a tattoo of Turner?
The buffer year of separation that Jansen spent in Atlanta helped ease the pain, but still. All three guys are having certified fun while the Dodgers are fielding a group of unknowns.
Sometimes, eras must end, and it's hard to argue with the regular seasons the 2021 and 2022 Dodgers piled up after shedding Hernández, Jansen, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager at various points. Why wouldn't you trust that the Dodgers know what they're doing handing the keys to the kids?
Still ... when they need that extra gear in October that they lacked in 2022 ... it might just be residing at Fenway Park, getting tatted up with the boys.