The Los Angeles Dodgers secured third base for multiple years by re-signing Justin Turner to a four-year, $64 million contract. The 32-year-old was coming off his first full season as an everyday third baseman in the Majors.
Turner finished a Gold Glove finalist and was ranked among the top-10 players at his position heading into this season by MLB Network’s The Shredder and ESPN’s Buster Olney. Prior to establishing himself at the hot corner for the Dodgers he filled a utility role.
Considering the club had need at second base until Monday when Jose De Leon was traded for Logan Forsythe, some outside the organization called for moving Turner to the middle infield position, and the void at third base then filled by a new acquisition.
When broached on that subject, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts have largely dismissed the possibility. For his part, Turner is willing to do whatever may best suit the team.
“I’m always open to whatever Dave thinks is best for the team, I’m on board with. One of the main reasons I wanted to come back was because I wanted to win,” he said during a recent appearance on Mason and Ireland.
“If it’s playing third base, left field, second base, it doesn’t matter. You want to be in the lineup and try to contribute and help win games. I love playing third base, it’s great to go out there everyday and play third. But I’d be comfortable bouncing around again if that’s what it came down to.”
Turner played one game at first base last season but otherwise remained entrenched at third. In addition to playing third base in 2015, he logged time at first (10 games; six starts), second base (five; three) and made one start at shortstop.
While Turner’s comments are yet another example of his team-first mentality, the Dodgers are unquestionably best-suited with him playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base. Beyond providing a steady presence defensively, Turner is a crucial bat in the heart of the lineup.