It's totally understandable why the Los Angeles Dodgers would want to reset their payroll to avoid paying a hefty luxury tax, especially if the rumors are true that they plan to hand Shohei Ohtani a blank check next offseason.
But that doesn't mean some of the decisions along the way haven't been questionable ... or at least worthy of a greater explanation. The latest pertains to Justin Turner, who signed with the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night after agreeing to a two-year deal just over $20 million.
The Dodgers rejecting Turner's $16 million team option to potentially bring him back for less was another business decision fans could get behind. But signing JD Martinez to a one-year, $10 million contract and letting Turner walk for ~$10 million per year (there's an opt-out clause for the 2024 season in his deal with Boston) didn't really make sense.
Nor did letting Tyler Anderson leave for the LA Angels on a three-year, $39 million contract ($13 million per season) and then signing Noah Syndergaard to a one-year, $13 million contract.
The Dodgers essentially traded valuable continuity this offseason for ... almost nothing. Maybe $1-2 million when all is said and done? Not having to worry about one or two contract commitments beyond 2023?
The Dodgers letting Justin Turner go to the Red Sox is a bizarre decision
Non-tendering Cody Bellinger to avoid having to pay him ~$19 million and then being unable to retain him because he eventually signed for $17.5 million with the Chicago Cubs anyway was a situation the Dodgers were smart to keep at arms length. That wasn't enough of a financial relief to justify a reunion.
But the Turner (and Anderson) departures just appear to be a result of apathy? Poor communication? A definitive desire to usher in a changing of the guard? Because why isn't Turner back on a similar deal with the understanding he'd mostly be logging reps at DH and serving as a veteran voice for the up-and-coming young players?
Was the difference really Turner wanting more money in 2023 or a player option for 2024? And even if one of those two things were important to him, the Dodgers couldn't have given him a buyout for next year that would've reflected that? It's hard to believe that might've been the holdup here since Turner is quite literally a franchise legend.
Whether it was intention or a mistake, the Dodgers are moving on with an eye for the future, and they'll have to make do without some of the organizations most prominent voices of (now) yesteryear.