As far as close gets, this seems to be it. This past offseason, the Dodgers watched a group of key world championship contributors hit free agency. Perhaps the biggest name of the bunch was that of Justin Turner.
Of course, we know the end of the story, the veteran stayed home in LA on a two-year deal. However, he was a little closer to leaving the Dodgers than many might have thought.
Earlier this week, Turner chatted with Chris Rose and former teammate Miguel Rojas on the Jomboy Media Network’s own Chris Rose Rotation. Rose outright asked JT about his offseason and, more importantly, if he actually was close to going somewhere else in free agency.
“From about a week out of the season ending,” Turner told Rose, “I was in contact with the Blue Jays had a lot of conversations with the Blue Jays. And there was a point where I thought I was gonna receive an offer from the Blue Jays before I’ve even gotten a phone call from the Dodgers. So that was a little had me a little nervous, actually, you know, like, what, what do I do if I have a great offer from a team and I haven’t even heard from the Dodgers yet? Like, what happens then?”
Fans may recall those rumors from early in the offseason. The links to the Jays were stronger than any other rumors at the time, and now we know why. Dodgers’ president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman mentioned in the offseason that the club had planned on letting each of its prominent free agents test the open market. Still, it was assumed that the team had at least reached to players like Turner or perhaps Enrique Hernandez to let them know the plan.
Apparently, that was not the case.
Continuing the story, Turner mentions the Marcus Semien deal with Toronto as the move that closed the door there and opened up conversations with LA… and Milwaukee.
“And that’s when things kind of evolved with the Dodgers and the Brewers and it was competitive from the Brewers. They really wanted me. They dug deep … I had multiple calls and zoom calls. You know, I got calls from Mark Kotsay. I got calls from Trevor Hoffman, I got calls, from [Christian] Yelich, and [Craig] Counsell and I talked to [David] Stearns multiple times. And I talked to and [Mark] Attanasio their owner. So, I mean, the pursuit was real, the offer was real. The interest was real. At the end of the day, it just came down to I think I’m where I’m supposed to be and that’s back with the Dodgers.”
Turner came home, he got his ring the right way — not in the mail — and now he’s leading the team in just about every offensive category over the first 20-ish games of the season. Just the way you drew it up.