Justin Turner: MLB Planned For ‘Shutting The Game Down’ With Lockout

As an MLB veteran and former Los Angeles Dodgers union representative, Justin Turner is well aware of the business aspects of the sport.

However, the ongoing MLB lockout is a first for Turner. Yes, he has been part of the Players Association (MLBPA) when prior collective bargaining agreements (CBA) expired, but the lockout represented MLB’s first work stoppage since the 1994-95 players’ strike.

Under normal circumstances, Turner and the Dodgers would be one week into their Cactus League schedule. But Major League players continue to wait for an opportunity to report to Spring Training, which of course won’t come until a new CBA is in place.

In addition to answering questions from his wife, Kourtney Turner, on her “Holding Kourt” podcast, Justin Turner expressed his disappointment and frustration with the lockout, along with a belief MLB intentionally planned for this type of scenario:

“This is difficult. It’s frustrating, to say the least. Every five years we come up to this new deal, this new collective bargaining agreement. Every five years there’s a chance that something can happen, something can go wrong, or there can be a stoppage of some sort, but you don’t really ever expect it to. I think this time for baseball players is precious because we don’t have a lot of it regarding our careers. You don’t know how long they’re going to be, you don’t know how many opportunities you’re going to have, you don’t know how many Opening Days you’re going to get a chance to play.

“It’s angering because it seems like it all could have been avoided. It seems like we shouldn’t be in this position. It seems unnecessary. We could have been negotiating all winter long, and instead the commissioner decided to lock us out on December 1. We could’ve been meeting and hammering out different ideas and thoughts on how we can improve the game together for everyone; for the players, for the owners, for the fans, for the Minor Leaguers, for the up-and-comers, for the kids that are playing right now in college baseball. We could’ve been doing all that, but instead the commissioner chose to lock us out, which I just don’t understand.

“We could’ve continued free agency, we could’ve had our Rule 5 Draft, we could’ve reported to Spring Training, we could’ve been playing Spring Training games right now without a CBA completed. We could’ve still been negotiating while all this was going on. And instead of being in a room and trying to work, trying to compromise and trying to negotiate, like I said, he chose to lock us out. I don’t understand it and the more and more I think about it, the more it feels like this was Major League Baseball’s plan the whole time.

“They went into this whole offseason with the intentions of shutting the game down and trying to put the players up against the wall and force them into a corner to make bad decisions and have another bad collective bargaining agreement.”

Turner additionally noted Dodger Stadium workers and Camelback Ranch employees who are impacted by the lockout, and reiterated the MLBPA’s stance and focus is for improving the overall economics for the next generation of players.

Turner: Dodgers fans ‘most important’

When previously addressing the MLB lockout, Turner shared his hope of being able to play a full season even if it came on the heels of a shortened Spring Training.

“I know 2020, obviously the pandemic hit, but playing a 60-game season wasn’t good for anyone,” he said.

“Wasn’t good for the players, wasn’t good for the owners, so I hope everyone realizes that the best thing for everyone — especially our fans, who are the most important people in all this — is to play a full 162-game season.”

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