Friday was a busy day for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They designated Trevor Bauer for assignment amid rampant speculation. But before that, they released a lengthy tribute video for Justin Turner, whose deal with the Boston Red Sox became official just hours earlier.
Turner was the last member of the Dodgers' impressive core dating back to 2013 to depart. He joined Cody Bellinger this offseason as well as Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernandez, Kenley Jansen and Hyun-Jin Ryu in recent years.
But Turner, by far, was the most iconic. He holds various Dodgers postseason records and remained an integral player/clubhouse presence for nine straight seasons. Not many in baseball can say that.
His departure left fans a bit puzzled, too. While JT's defense was on the decline, there was an obvious vacancy for him in the DH spot, where he played half his games in 2022 anyway. Additionally, losing his ~60 games at third base is notable when discussing the team's infield depth.
In the end, the Dodgers penny-pinched, though. They declined Turner's $16 million team option for 2023, paid him a $2 million buyout, and then signed JD Martinez to a one-year, $10 million contract. All that to save $4 million? And replacing a franchise legend who can still play defense for Martinez, who, while still a good hitter, will not be helping out on the other side of the ball whatsoever?
Justin Turner's comments after leaving Dodgers should hit fans hard
Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of it all were Turner's comments after officially defecting to the Red Sox. Based on what he said, it appears the Dodgers fully cut ties after rejecting the team option. Turner said he was "waiting" and "hoping" LA remained in play, but the silence on that front prompted him to get on with his baseball career.
Most fans undoubtedly understand the "business" side of the game, but the manner in which the Dodgers have seemingly treated guys like Turner, Pederson and Hernandez after all of them delivered a World Series title (in addition to other indelible moments) comes off as cold.
Speaking of Hernandez, who also left for Boston after the Dodgers swiftly moved on from him after their 2020 World Series triumph, he helped recruit Turner to the Red Sox, which was revealed not too long after the signing. But it was confirmed when Turner addressed the media on Friday and when Hernandez tweeted about it.
Remember this kind of excitement? That was fun. A team full of guys with energy and passion -- something this current Dodgers roster seems to lack.
Jansen's in Boston, too! So is Chris Martin! And Alex Verdugo, of course! Call the Red Sox "Wannabe Dodgers East."
The Dodgers deciding to part with some players over the years certainly made sense, but Turner (especially) and Hernandez remain curious cases because of all they did for the franchise and the fact they still have a few productive playing years ahead of them.