Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
A hamstring prevented Justin Turner from finishing the 2021 postseason on the field with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and heading into last season it represented a potential contract year for the veteran third baseman.
Turner dismissed early questions about his future and emphasized being focused on helping the Dodgers get back to the World Series. That effort wound up being accompanied by taking on a different role due to Max Muncy shifting to third base as a domino to signing Freddie Freeman.
Most assumed Muncy would play second base, a position he deemed his favorite, but the Dodgers instead settled on the hot corner, and that pushed Turner to designated hitter.
Of his 127 starts last season, Turner only made 66 of them at third base. His remaining starts were as the DH.
Along with the position change, Turner found himself hitting lower in the Dodgers lineup than had been the case over recent years.
Those factors were not used as an excuse, but Turner got off to a slow start in 2022. A multi-home run game against Joe Musgrove and the San Diego Padres at the end of June wound up lighting a spark that Turner carried into July and the second half of the season.
He finished the year batting .278/.350/.438 with 36 doubles, 13 home runs, 81 RBI and a 123 wRC+. Turner set a career high in doubles, surpassing 34 he hit during the 2016 season.
Justin Turner 2022 highlight
Turner did not trade any barbs with Musgrove after the Padres starter slighted him and let success on the field speak for itself.
Turner added to that with a solo homer off the right-hander at Petco Park on September 11, and he later hit a grand slam to help the Dodgers break the game open against the Padres bullpen.
The Dodgers became the first team to clinch a 2022 MLB postseason berth with their 11-2 victory.
The Dodgers declined their $16 million team option on Turner for 2023 in favor of paying a $2 million buyout, which made him a free agent.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman called re-signing Turner one of the priorities for the team, but free agency did not unfold as such. Turner instead wound up signing with the Boston Red Sox on a one-year contract that includes a player option for 2024.
Turner hit .296/.375/.490 with 235 doubles, 156 home runs and 574 RBI over 1,075 games during his career with the Dodgers. He holds several Dodgers postseason records and is the all-time franchise leader in hit-by-pitches.
Now with the Red Sox, Turner expects to be their primary DH and will make occasional starts at first base.
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