Saturday, February 4, 2023
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Does Justin Turner’s Mother Secretly Own the Dodgers?

There’s no other explanation for it. Somebody must be turning the screws on Farhan Zaidi and Dave Roberts, forcing them to keep the light to non-hitting Justin Turner in prime spots of the Dodgers’ batting order.

Despite never returning as the power hitter he was last season, and not making contact in any sustained manner this season, Turner has been placed in one the top four batting spots in every game he’s started this year. Turner has batted third in 33 of his 47 starts, and he’s been more harm than help in most of them.

Lots of folks think a team’s biggest home run hitter should bat third. Actually, a team’s big bomber should bat fourth, in the clean up spot. The third slot is usually reserved for the best hitter on the club. Sure, he has home run power, but he can also hit according to the situation, taking what little opportunity a good pitcher gives, and turning bad pitches into singles and doubles. His job is to cash in baserunners and keep rallies going, or to get on with two out, so the team’s big bopper can drive him in.

I don’t know what at-bats Roberts and Zaidi were watching, but they weren’t Turners. With a few notable exceptions, Turner has been a weak-hitting, harmless out, in one of the most important batting slots on the Dodgers’ offense, for most of the year.

With more than a third of the season behind us, just what makes the Dodgers’ brass think Turner will suddenly turn on the talent and start swinging with authority? Could they be relying too much on charts and “tendencies”?

If that’s the case, maybe they should defrost Ted Williams and let him bat third. I wonder how many months they would let Teddy Ballgame’s half-frozen corpse kill rallies while waiting for his “tendencies” to kick in?

I’ll keep it real and admit Turner’s glove at third base is valuable. I’m not advocating benching the man. He shows flashes of the ol’ Penguin from time to time, but unfortunately, the man bats like a real penguin – or perhaps, like a chia pet. Either way, he’s got no business hitting at the top of the batting order.

So what did Roberts do with this man who kills rallies? He bumped him UP in the order. A guy who was 3 for his last 18, and who hasn’t batted lead off in over a year, was granted the responsibility of batting lead off against the Rockies last night.

So how did he do? As expected, of course. Turner went 0 for 4, and reminded long-time Dodger fans of the lead-off bust, Juan Pierre, and his harmless fly outs that began far too many Dodger innings with an automatic out. Turner handicapped the Dodgers every time he led off an inning.

We’ve all heard about one player’s bat meaning so much to a team; how one hitter can set the pace for everyone. If that’s true in a positive sense, then it must also be true as an opposite.

One player, batting in a prime spot, and constantly failing, can set the tone for a game. He stops momentum, harms the dynamics of an inning, takes the enthusiasm out of the home crowd, and lifts the spirits of the opponent.  I  am sorry to say, that is a Justin Turner at-bat. He has stopped being the cute chia mascot, and has become a heavy Red Albatross around the Dodgers’ necks.

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Justin Turner must have photos of Vin Scully wearing a SF Giants cap, or of Tommy Lasorda eating broccoli, because chances are, Dave Roberts is going to ignore reality, and bat him in the top of the order again.

 

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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Oscar Martinez
I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.
http://alltradebait.blogspot.com/

57 thoughts on “Does Justin Turner’s Mother Secretly Own the Dodgers?

  1. There is an article on ESPNLA about Urias. It quotes Honeycutt a lot toward the end. God help this kid. Don’t let Honeycutt screw him up.

    1. Tim
      Urias almost never facing the line up, the third time around the order.

      And that is when most pitchers, start having trouble. How is he going to learn, how to pitch out of trouble, when he is not allowed to pitch deeper into games?

      And thanks I will take a look to what you have listed on ESPN.

  2. Oscar
    Just like you, I don’t understand why Roberts continues to bat Turner at the top of the order. I know in Turner’s previous game, he got two hits, but they were not really hard hit balls.

    And because Roberts has continued to place Turner at the top of the order, I was hoping that that would get Turner hitting. But after seeing those familar fly outs to rightfield last night, I think Roberts should start to think more about the team.

    And place Turner down in the order, where his non hitting, won’t affect the other hitter’s at bats. And Turner won’t be in the way, of the team, possibly having a rally, or two.

    It seems like everytime Turner is rested, the Dodgers offense, does much better. Hopefully Roberts will start worrying more about the team, and let Turner try to start hitting, lower in the order.

  3. Let’s just get Lucroy and Braun and be done with it. That way DR would have no choice but to drop Turner in the lineup. Who do we give up? Depends a lot on how much of Brauns’ salary we take on.

  4. Random thoughts about the Dodgers’ offense, courtesy of ESPN.com

    “Utley had been in a 2-for-25 slide, ever since his two-homer game in New York on May 28, before he cracked a late-inning double Sunday. And Pederson is batting .128 (5-for-39) since May 27 and .200 (22-for-110) since April 27.”

    (Last night), “Roberts tried what he could, writing out the Dodgers’ 49th different lineup in the club’s 59th game, but his moves led to little flow. ”

    “Home is where the issues are for the Dodgers. In 28 games at Dodger Stadium, the club has a .685 OPS (11th in the National League) and 106 runs scored (10th).”

    Questions:

    Has Utley’s early-season resurgence come to an end?

    Has Roberts’ micromanaging (49 lineups in 59 games) helped or hurt?

    1. Dodger rick
      In that same game that Utley hit a double, he also had a line drive to rightfield, that would have been a hit, but the rightfiielder, made a really good play on it.

      And that was the last game that Chase played in. I didn’t like that Roberts set Utley right after this game, because he had just got two hits. And I want Utley in the line up, unless there is a tough leftie pitching, or Utley needs a blow.

      He had just had a day off in Chicago, so I’m sure he would have been ok last night. But Roberts didn’t play him or Joc, last night. And I think Roberts did that, because the Rocky pitcher, was suppose to have reverse numbers, against lefties.

  5. Donnie Boy and Roberts seem to share one thing in common . . . the idea that:

    If you have a hot game, bat wise — you will cool off tomorrow, so sit the guy.

    If you are in a slump — you will probably come out of it tomorrow so get ’em out there.

  6. Might be the fact that he has been the best hitter on the Dodgers the last 2 years gives somebody on the Dodgers the idea he might just start hitting if given the chance. Maybe I’m a bit dense, but it makes sense to me.

  7. He has been given the chance since April. Cut the fat and move him down. The Cards sent Wong to AAA, albeit partially because Peralta is coming back but also because he ain’t hitting. They have the balls to demote those with a big contract to help the player get his game back. Gee the almighty FO wont admit that they have made some mistakes and demote someone. Hmm Joc maybe.

  8. You know there are different schools of thought on things. Some think that Turner should hit down further in the lineup because he is hitting only .222 or something. Since 1958 says that Turner has been the Dodgers best hitter the past two years, so keep him where he is. I’m OK with either argument, because IT’S PURELY SUBJECTIVE! You are psychotic to argue purely subjective issues!

    BTW, Turner has a .322 OB% and Joc Pederson’s is .325. Seriously? Send someone back to the minors with a .325 OB%? Makes about as much sense to me leaving Urias at AAA to hone his craft against people who can’t hit him. … and some of you wonder why I have called people morons. Yeah, let’s shoot fish in a barrell too.

    Someone asked how I know what FAZ’s Plan is since they have never articulated it? I have a gift. It’s called being able to perceive the obvious immediately.” I know, it’s a rare gift on this board.

    1. Mark
      You said give Turner three days off, then bat him lower in the batting order. And if I remember correctly, you said bat Turner eighth.

    2. The obvious….your perception of the plan is flawed….
      The Dodgers gave it a legitimate effort, made a “very strong offer,” in Friedman’s words. They reportedly offered him(Grienke) a five-year contract that would have paid $155 million.

      The voices in your head are lying to you…..but I’m sure the plan will change as often as it does with FAZ.

      1. 5 years were a stretch but let’s assume they were prepared to pay it.

        Here’s what we don’t know: Was FAZ driving the price up so as to hurt a division rival? I don’t know and neither does anyone… but it’s possible. Maybe they knew he was gone, so they just drove up the price. You can’t say that isn’t possible. .. and if you can’t say that you can’t say my perception is flawed.

        Well, you can say it, but you have no evidentiary foundation.

        I rest my case!

  9. I understand “The Plan” as you expressed it in a previous post, but I don’t have the confidence that you have that the Braintrust will spend $$ to sign premium free agents to fill in the gaps. They have only signed the mediocre and injury-prone or injured up to now and no one that cost the big bucks. (Yeah, I know, they are dumping payroll.)

    The Rays, A’s and Pads didn’t spend $$ to fill in the gaps when Friedman, Zaidi and Byrnes were involved in running those teams – heck, they didn’t spend $$ to keep their own players. Why will they do it now?

    If Kershaw opts out in 2018 for more $$, he will be 30. Will the Braintrust bear the wrath of the fans if he wants $40 MM/year for 6 years at age 30? That wouldn’t be part of “The Plan”, but if they go cheap on Kershaw, I may have to stop rooting for the Dodgers.

    1. Rick,

      There is THE PLAN and then there is Clayton Kershaw. When he opts out, FAZ will hand him a blank contract and tell him to fill it in. After all, he is Clayton Freaking Kershaw!

      How people can think a team that has the highest payroll in baseball is cheap is beyond me. They have to keep Clayton… if he wants to stay. The Dodgers could win the World Series and Clayton could decide he wants to go home and pitch. I think the tipping point is not how well the Dodgers do, but rather, what Clayton wants to do. … and we have no clue!

      In the post-steroid era, giving long-term deals to most in their early to mid thirties is not a good use of FUNDS! The difference between TB, Oakland and the Dodgers are that they did not have any money. The Dodgers do.They will spend… just not like the Drunk and Lucille did!

      … AND THAT’S WHY JUSTIN FREAKIN TURNER IS HITTING 3RD!

      1. They just dropped $85MM in payroll in 2016 compared to 2015. I guarantee you it will be less in 2017 and again in 2018. They won’t be the top spending team in 2018! Which is OK if they have all the talent that they need to win (which they don’t right now).

        You didn’t respond to my inquiry as to why you believe that the Braintrust will ever spend big $$ on anyone other than Cubans. None of them ever have before – not with their previous small-market teams and not with the newly small market Dodgers.

        1. The Cubans were available. They had the money. It’s a risk. I have no opinion if it is good or bad yet. Time will tell. It does seem excessive to me, but I don’t have the resources available to me that they do. I am watching intently to see what happens. Puig, Guerrero and Arrrr have been less than stellar.

          Think about it though. In 2020, Bryce Harper will be 28. If the Dodgers paid Kershaw and Harper $80 million total, they would still have about $200 million in payroll to use, but if you are growing the farm, a lot of those players will be making the MLB Minimum. Seager will be making $20 million. Thompson could be too, but Bellinger, Verdugo and many others including starting pitchers won’t make that much.

          Just keep growing the farm and get top free agents to fill in. By the time Harper is a FA, the compensatory pick will not be in place. They will spend the money and just keep growing. Look at San Antonio in basketball – that’s what they have done for almost 20 years. The Patriots in football too.

          1. Mark,

            Much more confident about the future than I.
            It does seem that the Cubans were viewed as ‘MLB’ ready when in fact most are not. Some have the talent to play but many do not have the discipline both on and off the field.

            Bryce Harper is being projected as the first $50M/year ($500M) signee. First of all F & Z as we know them today will not be around 2020 but IF Friedman is still around (big IF) than I really do not see him signing Harper. Will not lay out that type of money AND there will be others (Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs in the market).

            We’ll know end of 2018 if FAZ is willing to pay Kershaw $40M+ per year. If Kershaw goes on the open market, he’s gone.

  10. Just on a completely wild tangent I’d say maybe that’s why they kept him hitting 3rd, cuz he’s done it before and he’ll do it again.

  11. It’s one Flippin hit. How many has he cost us by going ofer a hundred times? At least a win or three. I like him but geez come on. I hear the bandwagon warming it’s engine.

  12. It’s easy to get on the bandwagon when things are going good.

    I’m no bandwango driver – I just know that things can change on a dime.

      1. Yep, that’s something he won’t learn pitching to guys who can’t hit him anyway. AAA offered him nothing.

  13. I was worried about him keeping his fastball up like that. It is ok with two strikes, but some major league hitters, can hit a fastball, that high.

  14. This is why Coleman bothers me when he pitches. He always gets behind his first hitter, and doesn’t always walk them.

    But he always comes in and gets behind on the count, on the first hitter, that he faces.

  15. To pull Urias out of the game after 4 innings, with him winning it + 7 SO’s, shows a lack of confidence on the part of Roberts, whom I think has made atrocious pitching decisions this season. The only reason I could see for this is the inefficiency with which Urias pitched. After 4 innings, 86 pitches. That’s a lot, but the kid is 19 years old! He can handle it.

    1. There’s really no point of using Urias as a starter if they won’t let him pitch past the 4th inning. May as well use him as a reliever. Bolsinger can’t go past the 5th inning either. So that means 10+ innings of the bullpen every week for those two rotation spots. That’s not going to work.

    2. Urias is on a hard limit of 90 pitches this year.

      People complain that he doesn’t pitch enough, but I guarantee they would bitch more if he blew his arm out!

  16. You guys have short memories.

    In Clayton Kershaw’s Rookie Season, he was called up at the end of May and started 22 games. He went 7 innings only twice. That’s the most innings he pitched.

    He pitched 4 or less innings 8 times! The fact is, he averaged less than 5 innings a start and some morons were saying he shouldn’t be pitching in the majors at his age (one is on this board). I was making the same argument that he should be pitching in the majors as I am making now with Urias. He could not learn any more in the minors. Some people just love to be miserable!

    He had a 4.26 ERA in his first season and he grew from that. I think he turned out OK.

    I never cease to be amazed…

    1. Nobody is arguing that he shouldn’t be pitching in the majors, at least I’m not. What I am saying is the reasoning behind his pitch count limits are understandable, but bad for the club. Good for his development though. The problem is the rotation is not giving the club enough innings.

      1. Scott
        You are exactly right! And how is Urias going to really learn how to pitch, if he doesn’t face hitters the third time around in the order.

        We understand about the innings limit, but he eventually needs to face the order the third time, around, because he is going to need to learn how to pitch out of trouble.

        And your right Scott, because the last thing the Dodgers need, is another starter, that can’t pitch deep into games.

        Mark read what someone writes next time.

        I have been quilty of speaking to soon too.

        But when you react like that, it makes you look like it doesn’t matter, what the management does, you will just say yes.

        And I know people accuse you of that, but I have seen times when you do admitt you don’t agree.

        So I do give you credit, when you do that.

  17. Absolutely it’s not going to work. When was the last two times any starter, other than CK, went a full 7 innings or more. Our BP will be toast long before the ASG if it continues.

  18. Trace does another walkoff HR!!! It would have been nice for Urias to get this win. The mental game is the most important. Roberts undermines that even with Kershaw.

    1. Imagine what Kershaw would do without Roberts. He’s only having his best season EVER!

      Geeeeezzzz!

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