At the outset of the offseason, it would have been hard to imagine that Justin Turner would not be back with the Dodgers by January, let alone without a job. Not only has the veteran been one of the best third basemen in the game over the last 5-6 seasons, but he’s also been the heart and soul of the Dodger clubhouse.
That latter fact is something that was top of mind for teammate Max Muncy. The future papa Mad Max joined Alanna Rizzo on SportsNet LA to chat about his offseason season so far but made sure to take the time to shout out his counterpart across the diamond.
Max Muncy told Alanna Rizzo on Sportsnet LA " it would be very strange" if Justin Turner wasn't back in LA. "It would be a travesty" if he doesn't finish his career in blue. #Dodgers
— Clint Pasillas (FRG) (@realFRG) January 14, 2021
Unsurprisingly, Muncy — like a majority of Dodgers Nation — would like to see Justin Turner back in blue next season. And it’s not just because he hates playing third base that much.
It would be very strange for us. He’s kinda been our leader the last couple years — from a position player standpoint, he is our leader. He’s always there with our meetings and he’s always kinda leading the charge with everything. He’s the guy everyone turns to. … I hope it works out to where he gets to come back and play a couple more years with us.
Additionally, Max acknowledged the weight of Turner’s tenure in Los Angeles adding that “it would be a little bit travesty if he didn’t finish his career” with the Dodgers.
Of course, LA and JT are reportedly apart on contract figures. The 36-year-old is seeking a 4-year deal — something no player of his age has ever signed in MLB history — while the Dodgers are hesitant to go past 2 years.
On the weight of his contributions to the franchise alone, Turner is worth whatever he’s asking. At least if the heart of many Dodger fans had the final say. But with his defense on a steady decline and his durability a question mark every season since 2016, it’s smart for the Dodgers to stand firm. Particularly if the designated hitter does not return to the National League in 2021 or by 2022.
So certainly, as Max said, it would be strange if JT isn’t back with the team next season, but it’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility.