Justin Turner's continued Dodgers' commentary shows LA hung him out to dry

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

It seems the Dodgers did a number on Justin Turner, because this is now the third time the veteran has been outspoken about his departure from Los Angeles this offseason. He obviously can't control what reporters ask him, but each time there seems to be a new wrinkle coming from Turner himself.

Last week, the LA Times (subscription required) checked in with the Dodgers legend, who signed with the Boston Red Sox after LA rejected his team option for 2023 and signed JD Martinez to replace his bat in the lineup. Just like that, Turner knew it was over and signed with the Sox the next day.

What continues to be troubling about all of this is how the organization treated one of the most revered players in franchise history -- and that's not even an exaggeration. He helped the Dodgers capture their first World Series in 32 years with the triumph in 2020, and holds multiple all-time postseason marks for the franchise.

He has his own charitable foundation that was a pillar of the Los Angeles community during his tenure with the team from 2016-2022. He was an affable personality that sustained his fan-favorite status for almost a decade. And then, just like that, he was replaced. Almost silently.

Turner once again relayed to the media that he was blindsided by all of this and made his intentions clear the moment the Dodgers opted not to pick up his $16 million option. He didn't really care about the money. He just wanted to be in LA.

Dodgers pretty much ghosted Justin Turner in free agency

"I never pictured myself wearing another uniform. And when my option was declined, I made that clear to multiple people. …There [were] multiple people that I told, ‘Hey, I want to come back. I want to get this done as fast as possible. Let’s not beat around the bush. Let’s not drag this thing out. This is where I want to be.’

So, from my perspective, I wasn’t playing any games or trying to leverage anything. I made it clear what I wanted. So I don’t know what happened, but it happened.

'I have no idea,' Turner said when asked why he wasn’t a Dodger for his 15th major league season. 'No idea. That’s not a question for me to answer because other than being extremely happy with where I am and loving all these guys and being a part of it, like, the honest truth is I did not see myself ever playing for another organization for the rest of my career. And that’s just the truth.'"

Justin Turner via the LA Times

Though the Martinez-for-Turner swap seems to be working out for all parties involved (though the Dodgers have the upper hand right now), it doesn't make this hurt any less for Turner, who clearly still has it on his mind. It also won't pacify those who grew up watching him deliver countless memorable baseball moments that shaped their fandom.

What's even more puzzling is that Turner was already being phased out of his days on the defensive side of the ball. The Dodgers weren't looking for a younger, better replacement at third base. They already had Max Muncy and Miguel Vargas on the roster. They needed somebody to eat more DH reps, which seemed to be Turner's calling card as he entered his age-38 season. And though Martinez, historically, is the more prolific hitter, he's not exactly his 2018 self anymore. The Dodgers didn't ghost Turner for an option they couldn't refuse -- they made the move, which, at the time, wasn't exactly universally approved, for someone in Martinez, who wasn't unquestionably more productive at this juncture of his career.

At least Turner's able to wear his favorite number in Boston without any opposition. Chalk that up as a win, we guess.