Justin Turner leaves an amazing legacy


With the season now over and possibly his Dodger career let’s take a look at the amazing accomplishments of Justin Red Dream Turner.

At 28 years old Turner was a career utility player who was inexplicably released by the Mets in the winter of 2014.  Ned Colletti jumped on the chance to get the valuable utility player in the spring of 2014 and he would end up being the Dodger starting 3rd baseman for almost three years.  His story is amazing and Dodger fans were lucky it was a Dodger story.

“I got a chance to re-create my whole identity when I came over here,” Turner said, and each step of his route to the plate reveals the keys to his evolution: The breathing techniques he learned on the field and in the classroom at Cal State Fullerton. The swing he rebuilt after the New York Mets released him in 2013. The physique he reshaped after his first season in Los Angeles. The knee he rehabilitated from microfracture surgery last winter, emerging from the process a sleeker defender with more power than ever before.

It left me asking these questions.


Is Justin Turner the greatest Dodger free agent signing ever?

Depending on how you want to define a free agent he’s probably the greatest free agent signing by the Dodgers ever. You could argue for Kirk Gibson if you want, and he certainly had more impact in one season, but he can’t touch what JT did during his three-year reign. You could argue for Brett Butler who put up a wonderful 15. 1 bWAR during his first free agent run with the Dodgers, but Butler had a four-year run not three.  Manny was all world in 2009 before his PED suspension. JD Drew had a nice two-year run but not three. Rafy Furcal has the highest bWAR of any Dodger free agent, accumulated over his five-year run. Very comparable to what Brett Butler did in the about the same number of at-bats. Of course,  Justin Turner put up a bWAR of 13.1 in almost half the plate appearances of Butler and Furcal.

I’m going to stick with this. Kirk Gibson had the most impact of any Dodger free agent, while Justin Turner was by far and away the best value along with being the best.

Course you could argue that all the players below except Justin Turner were free agents of the truest sense over their run. Justin Turner was simply signed as a non-roster invitee and the Dodgers owned him for the next three years.

Name OPS+ bWAR PlateApp Years
Justin Turner 136 13.1 1383 2014-16
Kirk Gibson 124 9.8 1110 1988-1990
Brett Butler 120 15.1 2618 1991-1994
Manny Ramirez 153 2.8 663 2009-2010
Jeff Kent 119 6.7 1894 2005-2008
Rafael Furcal 100 15.5 2803 2006-2011
JD Drew 132 7.2 905 2005-2006
D Strawberry 121 2.9 885 1991-1993
Casey Blake 109 8.2 1375 2009-2011
Nomar Garciaparra 102 1.7 1063 2006-2008
Todd Zeile 116 2.5 842 1997-1998

Is Turner the best Dodger 3rd baseman over a three year period?

This is so close between Ron Cey and Justin Turner. Cey was so good for so long that he had two excellent three-year runs that were comparable to Justin Turner.  As much as I would like to crown Justin Turner I can’t deny the Penguin his due. Ron Cey is still the greatest Dodger of all time no matter how you try to cherry pick the numbers.  Adrian Beltre easily owns the greatest season for a LAD 3rd baseman, and when you figure in his 2004 into a three-year run from 2002 – 2004 you still have a player in consideration.

Player OPS+ bWAR PA Period
Ron Cey 131 16.3 1632 1975-1977
Adrian Beltre 117 15.1 1900 2002-2004
Ron Cey 134 13.5 1350 1979-1981
Justin Turner 136 13.1 1383 2014-16

Was Justin Turner the best position player over his three year Dodger career? 

You betcha. He’s been the best position Dodger by bWAR over the past three years, and it is not close.

Player Type OPS+ bWAR PA Period
Corey Seager HomeGrown 142 7.9 800 2015-16
Matt Kemp HomeGrown 140 1 599 2014-14
Justin Turner FreeAgent 136 13.1 1383 2014-16
Andrew Toles FreeAgent 135 1.4 115 2016-16
Hanley Ramirez Trade 132 3.5 512 2014-14
Adrian Gonzalez Trade 125 9.8 1936 2014-16
Yasiel Puig FreeAgent 124 7.8 1319 2014-16
Joc Pederson HomeGrown 118 5.6 1099 2014-16
Andre Ethier Trade 117 2.4 851 2014-16
Yasmani Grandal Trade 116 4.2 883 2015-16
Scott Van Slyke HomeGrown 114 3.8 612 2014-16
Juan Uribe FreeAgent 111 3.8 491 2014-15
Dee Gordon HomeGrown 101 2.3 650 2014-14




  1. 68elcamino427

    Love how you snuck Toles in there.

    I hope the Dodgers find a way to keep Turner.
    For an AL club, this would be a slam dunk.
    Turner is a unique talent.
    His ability to see and track the ball and combine this with the very effective implementation of a swing technique that is difficult to master and is very high maintenance,
    this is something that every player wishes they could do.

    Turner turns the baseballs around with his bat.
    He rakes.

    Casey Blake was a late bloomer.
    Turner is a bouquet by comparison.

    He is gonna be a very wealthy man.


  2. If Turner leaves it will be the second time my favorite Dodger left the team after being the incumbent 3rd baseman.



  1. Hill/Turner/Jansen – what a bizzare trio | Dodgers, Yesterday and Today

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