If there is one man who deserves a contract extension more than any other Dodger, it is Justin Turner. Yet here we are and the red headed man still does not have one. According to an interesting article from MLBTR, Turner has yet to even have discussions with Dodger brass about extending his stay in Los Angeles. To me that makes such little sense.
With the Coronavirus Pandemic raging across the United States, MLB is considering multiple plans to start a truncated season on July 1 without fans in the stands. Yet it’s still entirely possible that the entire season may be cancelled. Turner is entering the 2020 season in the final year of a 4-year 56 million dollar contract. Why haven’t the Dodger’s front office talked to him about sticking around for at least another year, preferably for the rest of his MLB career?
I can’t answer that question for you. Because Turner has been on the most clutch performers in recent Dodger’s history. He’s the one man they absolutely can’t do without. If Clayton Kershaw is the face of the franchise, Justin Turner is undeniably the soul of the organization. It’s not just that he is the heart and soul of the Dodgers, beloved by all fans, and one of the most clutch postseason hitters of our time, he is also one of the most consistent and valuable bats in baseball.
He’s ranked within the top 100 in WAR for the last several seasons, ranking 19, in 2017, 51 in 2018, and 97 in 2019. He’s a career .309 hitter with runners in scoring position, and a .310 career hitter in the postseason with nine home runs and 40 runs driven in. Without his walk-off home run in the 2017 NLCS against the Cubs, would the Dodgers have won that series? Without his clutch home run in game 2 of the 2018 NLCS against Milwaukee, would the Dodgers have won that series either? His indelible moments go on and on.
Surely his advanced age is a concern. His numbers have dipped a tick in 2019. Most players when they age lose their power, or hitting skills first. Turner seems to be the opposite. His fielding skills seem to be declining a tad, while his bat continues to be as potent as ever. Turner blasted 27 home runs and slashed .290/.372/.509 last season.
Perhaps that could be the reason for the hesitation from the Dodgers management. The Dodgers simply don’t have anyone of his caliber to replace Turner at third, nor should they want too. I know there are a few guys who can play third and move around the diamond, but nobody as excellent as Turner is. He’s still very good. Once the transaction freeze is lifted, the Dodgers should open up a dialog with him on extending his contract. It would be very difficult to picture 2020 as the least season for Justin Turner in Dodger Blue. Please don’t make that a reality for us.