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With Justin Turner, the Dodgers are Already Perfectly Equipped for the Universal DH



Designated Hitter is now another daily lineup decision for Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts. The choice should be an easy one since Justin Turner, the Dodgers best contact hitter, continues to erode defensively. He is the perfect candidate to be the designated hitter. Turner, once a Gold Glove caliber fielder at third base, struggled mightily in 2019.

Turner Ultimate Zone Rating at 3B

  • 2015: 2.0
  • 2016: 9.2
  • 2017: -1.8
  • 2018: -1.8
  • 2019: -6.7

Make no mistake, the emblematic Turner deserves all the respect he is given. Turner’s transformation from utility player to everyday starter paralleled the Dodgers rise from division winners to pennant winners. He’s the engine. The heart and soul. The straw that stirs the drink, and so on. 

However, math removes the fog of subjectivity and nostalgia and sheds light on the facts: Turner’s defense is declining rapidly and he hasn’t played 150 games since 2016. But wait, there’s a solution! Sliding Turner into the DH spot improves the Dodgers defensively and reduces Turner’s injury risk.

More Opportunities for Impact Bench Players

But wait, there’s more! The opening would give Kiké Hernandez the opportunity to get more regular playing time and create additional lineup combinations for Roberts. And you know how much Roberts, and Andrew Friedman, love different lineup combinations!

Slide slugger Max Muncy over to third and plug Matt Beaty in at first. Insert Chris Taylor at third for favorable matchups. Bring in Edwin Rios for a game or two. The possibilities are endless.

This bizarro season provides a golden opportunity to keep Turner’s highly productive bat in the lineup, lower his exposure to injuries, and upgrade the Dodgers defensively.

A Designated Hitter Can Lead a Team to a Championship

Of course, the ultra competitive Tuner probably doesn’t want to be the designated hitter. He wants to be out on the field, captaining the defense, calming pitchers down, and turning double plays. He’ll feel as though the new role is a demotion, but it most certainly isn’t.

Turner will be called upon more than ever to provide timely hits and back-breaking, late inning RBI. He has absolutely cemented his elder statesman and alpha dog status on the Dodgers. Being in the dugout a little more often won’t affect it.

Turner Playoff Hitting Stats

  • G: 54
  • AVG: .310
  • OBP: .411
  • OPS: .931
  • HR: 9
  • RBI: 35

A DH can lead a team. A DH can single handily win a game, a series, and a championship, just ask David Ortiz.

Red Sox legend David Ortiz was the unquestioned leader and fulcrum of the offense for three title teams. When Boston was at their best, Ortiz not fielding a defensive position did not diminish his contributions or cheapen his team captain status.

Turner can be the best designated hitter in the league. He can set the tone in the locker room and most importantly, the Dodgers can still win.

Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Number one fear in life is dying without ever seeing a Dodgers Championship. Host of The Series Sweep Podcast - link on my Twitter (@EEulau).

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  1. Agreed. A bench monster too. A calming presence for the new kids on the block. Spending more time sitting next to coaches and managers will put Turner in the drivers seat for a future managerial position, learning the ropes while waiting to knock in that winning run. And! We all LOVE Turner.

  2. I think that this virus that. Disabled sports is a blessing for people like justin turner he can rehab get back to full strengh and knock the cover off the balll. Some of you people who write these articles have never swung abat or played catch a day in your life justin is awesome

    • The virus should not be understood as a blessing in any context. I think JT, along with the majority of players don’t see this as blessing of any kind. An opportunity to rest and heal, sure. A blessing 100,000 deaths in the U.S later. No way.

  3. Muncy plays 3rd? Keke? I like the idea, but sitting Turner means Keke’ plays more and that’s blocking a better option offensively. I like the idea of Russell Martin hitting some DH.Rather have Martin with a bat in his hands than Keke..

    • Turner at 1st works for me as well but Muncy would have to play 3rd. Like you said, defensively the Dodgers lose by sitting Turner defensively. Keke is a good defensive player but we already have a Barnes in the line up. Keke is and has always been a good platoon guy that plays anywhere, the Only reason he’s still in the bigs. Odd man out is either he, Taylor or Pollock. Pollock stays because Friedman would never admit this Flop signing, Taylor plays just as good of defense as Keke and hits better so I’d try and get something for Keke while they still can..He’s regressed ……

  4. I like the idea of a DH for the National League. I am an older fan and been a National League Style of play proponent all these years. Times have changed the game has changed. With shifts and the HR or bust new baseball I do not believe risking injury to a Mega star pitcher that a club invests 100’s of Millions for is wise or warranted and any possibility to inject more offense will help the game. Plus the Dodgers with their overload of talent are greatly benefited by this change. Turner, Taylor, Rios, Beaty, all can benefit with the DH rule.

  5. Something else that might be nice for this season is that the games might actually attract new viewers with limited other sports and shorter games. We are going through some terrible times right now and almost every facet of our lives are changing in some way. Baseball doesn’t seem to be any different. The silver lining here might be that games get more interesting to fans with a universal DH, which might result in more offense and fewer pitching changes. To my understanding the league was going in this direction already but the pandemic has accelerated this transition. I love baseball as it currently exists and I want to see it continue to be successful and I think in the long run a universal DH might help that cause.

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