After becoming a two-time All-Star and leader in the community over the past nine years, Justin Turner made it clear at the outset of free agency his hope was to re-sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter.
Turner additionally expressed a desire to retire as a member of the Dodgers.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman identified Clayton Kershaw and Turner as top priorities for the Dodgers in free agency. Only Kershaw was re-signed, as he returned on another one-year contract.
Turner went on to sign with the Boston Red Sox after the Dodgers seemingly made a move to replace him by agreeing to terms with J.D. Martinez.
Although it was a disappointing development in free agency, Turner is looking forward to playing with the Red Sox and maintains fond memories of his time with the Dodgers.
“Regardless of anyone’s opinions on what should’ve happened, what did happen, or what went down, I don’t think anything is going to take away from the nine years I had in L.A as a Dodger,” he said from a Justin Turner Day celebration at the Los Angeles Dream Center.
“It was absolutely an incredible ride I was on. I’m so grateful for so many people that took us in and made us feel part of the Dodger family, but also at the same time, I’m looking forward to this next chapter and heading out to Boston and playing for the Red Sox. Another outstanding organization.”
Hundreds of fans lined up to get Turner’s autograph and express their gratitude as he spoke with media while standing next to the Justin Turner Foundation booth.
“I don’t think it does anybody any good to go back and speculate as to what happened,” he responded when pressed further about how free agency unfolded. “I’m with the Red Sox, I’m happy to be with the Red Sox, I’m looking forward to going and spending my time in Boston.
“I don’t want anything to blow back or taint the last nine years that I had and everything that we’ve accomplished in that time period. It’s been pretty remarkable for Kourt and I, our foundation, my career and everything that’s come along with it.
“I’d rather celebrate the nine years than talk about maybe what could have been, what should have been, or what didn’t happen.”
Turner hit .296/.375/.490 with 235 doubles, 156 home runs and 574 RBI in 1,075 games during his career with the Dodgers. He holds several Dodgers postseason records and is the all-time franchise leader in hit-by-pitches.
Justin Turner: free agency not always enjoyable
Turner re-signed with the Dodgers over two prior instances of becoming a free agent, and noted the process doesn’t always meet expectations.
“I think you heard that from a lot of guys about free agency. I think everyone has this picture in their mind of what they want, or how they think it’s going to go, and it just never really goes according to plan,” he said.
“But again, happy to be with the Red Sox and excited for this new chapter. This is kind of a good way to put a bowtie on everything and say thank you to LA one last time even though the foundation isn’t technically leaving Los Angeles.”
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