What Justin Turner’s Wrist Injury Means For The Dodgers Moving Forward
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

It was one of those weird scenarios where you knew it was bad before you actually knew it was bad. As soon as news spread that Justin Turner left Monday night’s game after being hit by a pitch on the hand, stomachs across Los Angeles dropped.

And then, their worst fears were confirmed: Turner had a broken wrist. Similar, if not identical injuries, to Freddie Freeman and George Springer cost them six and nine weeks, respectively. With the Dodgers’ confidence of another World Series run, you can imagine they’ll be conservative with bringing Turner back.

While the All-Star third baseman is avoiding surgery, the team also let it be known a timetable for his return would not be made public.

So, what does this mean for the Dodgers moving forward?

Manager Dave Roberts has already indicated Logan Forsythe will be the team’s third baseman for the time being, which means second base (and catcher) remain somewhat of an issue.

For me, the answer is pretty simple: provide Austin Barnes with more opportunities.

Spring Training notwithstanding, it can be Barnes has earned a full-time role as the catcher against lefties, and as the starting second baseman against right-handers thanks to his ridiculous .289/.408/.486 batting line in 102 games last season.

Now, with Forsythe at third full-time and an opening at second, I think this is the easy answer. It is worth noting that Roberts said Chris Taylor is not an option at second base, as they’re planning on keeping him in center and as the backup shortstop.

With Barnes potentially being needed more at second base that originally planned for, it could mean good news for Kyle Farmer and his chances of making the Opening Day roster. It’s suddenly conceivable that he earns the last spot on the 25-man active roster, and he’s another player with versatility.

Of course, Barnes filling in at second base isn’t the Dodgers’ only option. The other two candidates are Chase Utley and Kiké Hernandez. But Utley can probably be crossed off the list in some regard.

The Dodgers have enough depth that he isn’t needed to be an everyday player, and his best usage is off the bench. The bigger and more interesting question, however, is whether Hernandez makes sense.

The upside with using Hernandez is that it opens up more time in left field for Andrew Toles and Matt Kemp. Hernandez would still only play against lefties, which he’ll probably do no matter what, with Barnes presumably taking the bulk of starts against righties.

Ultimately, it comes down to this question: who do you want getting more at-bats, Austin Barnes or Andrew Toles/Matt Kemp?

Personally, I like the upside of Barnes and think he earned it with his performance last season. It doesn’t make Roberts’ life any easier when it comes to left field, because there are still three players essentially battling for one spot, but it makes the team better and should hold them over until Turner returns.