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
— Diana Gonzales ? (@trojanchick99) October 7, 2019
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.