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Justin Turner wanted to re-sign with Dodgers before the plan quickly changed

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Los Angeles, California, Aug 22, 2022 - Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner at Dodger Stadium.
Justin Turner sits in a dugout at Dodger Stadium during a game on August 22. Turner is happy to be part of the Boston Red Sox, but the former Dodgers third baseman will always cherish what he accomplished in Los Angeles. (Wally Sculidge/Los Angeles Times)

Within a few weeks after signing with the Boston Red Sox last month, Justin Turner began receiving presumptuous letters to his home in Southland.

“We had six or seven letters in the mailbox from realtors saying, ‘Hey, we want to sell your house,’” Turner recalls with a laugh. “It was like, hey, no one said we were packing up and leaving.”

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But after the awkward end of his memorable nine-year stay in Dodgers This winter, the Southern California native was still adjusting to the fact that Los Angeles is no longer his professional home.

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“It’s still pretty fresh,” Turner said during Sunday’s charity event, his first public appearance in Los Angeles since completing his two-year, $22 million contract with the Red Sox.

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“You heard it from a lot of guys about how complicated free will is,” he added. “I think everyone has this picture in their head of what they want or how they think it will happen. It just never goes according to plan.”

Indeed, staying with the Dodgers was Turner’s plan A during the offseason.

Despite the club having rejected his $16 million option for 2023, the 38-year-old has publicly stated his desire to work out a new deal. Twice signing free agents to stay on the team, he hoped the parties could secure another reunion.

This opportunity disappeared two days before the holidays.

Unable to bridge the gap with Turner, who was looking for perennial offers after hitting .278 with 13 home runs and 81 RBIs last season, the Dodgers instead signed by JD Martinez to a one-year, $10 million contract on December 17—effectively finding a cheaper option to replace the veteran right-hander Turner in a predominantly assigned drumming role.

The next day, the news broke that Turner and the Red Sox — Martinez’s old team — have agreed to their two-year deal, which includes a player pick for 2024.

For Turner, the next month was filled with conflicting emotions.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner celebrates with teammates in a dugout.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner celebrates with teammates after winning a two-run home run in May against the Philadelphia Phillies. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

He looks forward to his opportunity in Boston, where he was recruited by other former Dodgers (Quique Hernandez chief among them), as well as New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who texted Turner to extol the culture of Boston as a sports city.

Turner is also happy to be with another legendary franchise and joked during this month’s introductory press conference that he’s looking forward to potential outings turning into doppelgangers from the Green Monster in Fenway Park.

“I’m just happy to be part of their organization,” Turner repeated on Sunday.

At the same time, Turner still seemed to be digesting his departure from the Dodgers. He carried on a diplomatic tone, discussing his negotiations with the crew.

“I don’t think anything will take away the nine years I spent in Los Angeles as a Dodger,” he said. “It was an absolutely incredible trip.”

However, he deviated from further pressure on whether he was surprised that he and the club were unable to reach a new agreement.

“I don’t think anyone should go back and reflect on what happened,” he said. “I don’t want anything to set back or ruin the last nine years I’ve had and everything we’ve achieved.”

He later added, “I’d rather celebrate nine years than talk about what could have been or should have been or didn’t happen.”

Turner spoke Sunday from the Dream Center in Echo Park, where the foundation he co-founded with his wife Courtney held a fundraiser in honor of “Justin Turner Day,” which the Los Angeles City Council recognized on Jan. 22, 2019 in honor of Turner Day. . work in society.

Although Turner is no longer a member of the organization, Dodgers fans still made up the vast majority of the over 1,000 people required to attend.

Many wore blue shirts and #10 jerseys (there was at least one Red Sox hat in the crowd, although it was worn by a woman also wearing one of the Turner Dodgers’ uniforms). Dozens of people lined up for autographs, photos and an opportunity to thank the team’s longtime third baseman.

And even as Turner prepared to start a new chapter, they still treated the red-haired Lakewood native as a franchise icon.

“It’s a good way to put everyone in a bow tie,” Turner said, looking at the crowd, “and say thank you to Los Angeles for the last time.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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