There was definitely a moment this offseason where Dodgers fans were worried that third baseman Justin Turner would find another home for the new year. The team had just splurged on free agent Trevor Bauer, and there hadn’t been any updates on the veteran infielder in quite some time.
But while others may have been nervous about Turner’s future, former teammate AJ Ellis was never concerned. In fact, the former LA catcher shared with The Athletic that he sees Justin in Dodger blue for a long, long time.
There’s no way he’s leaving the Dodgers. The day he retires from the Dodgers is the day that he signs to work for SportsNet LA for two years. Then he becomes the hitting coach or special assistant. And eventually, somewhere down the road, he’s the next manager of the Dodgers. That’s my Justin Turner prediction. When I bring that up to him, he does not deny it.
There’s no denying that the ‘Dodger way’ has a lot to do with the character of Justin Turner. When the team signed him to a minor-league deal before the 2014 season, they lacked an identity. The team was still fresh off of a purchase by Guggenheim Partners and a team that included Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson. They had stars in Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig, and an aging duo of Adrian González and Hanley Ramirez, but there was still something missing.
Related: Justin Turner Says He Was Worried about LA Having Money to Re-Sign Him After Bauer Contract
The addition of Justin Turner gave the Dodgers more than just another player. It gave them someone who knew about had work. Someone who appreciated the difficulty of making it to the majors and staying there. It gave them a player that just about everyone could relate to. And in return, the Dodgers also gave Justin the chance to recreate himself. His production on the field has been as consistent as it gets, but more importantly, his leadership and presence on the team have never wavered.
Whenever father time comes calling Turner’s name, it’ll take some time to get used to seeing a different face out at third base. Still, the possibility of seeing him in a different role with the team would help to soften the blow just a bit. There are few certainties in life and fewer still in baseball, but Justin Turner remaining a Dodger for life is about as close as it gets.