Dodgers: Ken Gurnick Talks Potential Justin Turner Position Change in 2020
The Dodgers are supposedly looking at big fish this off-season and reportedly have their sights set on Cleveland Indians’ shortstop Francisco Lindor or Washington Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon amongst a plethora of others. The Dodgers already carry a stacked infield of Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, and top prospect Gavin Lux. All things considered, one would have to be traded and/or one player would have to move positions in order to accommodate one of the big fish.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com recently chimed in on the potential move of Justin Turner over to first base:
What are realistic games/ABs for Justin Turner in 2020? My math is challenged. One idea is to sign Anthony Rendon (longshot by team AF's past patterns) and move Turner to 1B. Is there really room at 1B and 2B for Turner, Max Muncy and Gavin Lux, perhaps even Kike Hernandez?
— Alan Wooten (@alanwooten19) October 28, 2019
“Turner played 135 games with 549 plate appearances, the second highest numbers of his career in both categories, and he matched his career high with 27 homers. He had a relatively healthy, productive season. He knows how to protect himself while still being a force in the middle of the lineup, although with that and age comes declining defensive metrics at third base, leading to speculation that he’ll move to first.
The simplest solution is to have everybody in the infield slide over — Muncy to second base, Lux to shortstop, Corey Seager to third base, Turner to first. The Dodgers, however, almost never choose the simplest solution, and Seager has always been resistant to leaving shortstop.”
Justin Turner still has it with the bat, but is simply declining hard defensively. In 2018, Turner accrued 1 DRS. In 2019, he was worth a brutal -7 DRS. Of course defensive decline comes with age and Turner will enter the 2020 season — the final season of his contract with the Dodgers — at age 35.
In Gurnick’s infield scenario, everyone rotates one position over. Muncy looked fine at second in 2019, Lux has played shortstop almost exclusively since being drafted, and Seager has long been discussed as a 3B option due to his size. This scenario, of course, assumes no big off-season pick up for Los Angeles.
Turner remains one of the Dodgers’ key pieces to the puzzle as they attempt to win a World Series in 2020. There is a very good chance Turner re-signs with the Dodgers following the 2020 season, but in a more limited role. If the Dodgers were to land a player of the Rendon-Lindor ilk, Turner could also see a downsized role depending on other roster countermoves. Overall, though, JT is a leader and will continue to be next season.