Justin Turner officially became a member of the Red Sox on Friday, his one-year contract plus a player option with Boston finalized. With it came a formal goodbye to the Dodgers.
Here is Turner’s statement, in text form:
“9 years ago I made a decision to come home, back to LA, and try to keep my career alive as a utility infielder for the Dodgers. I was excited for so many reasons, joining a historic franchise that saw players like Jackie, Koufax, Fernando, Drysdale, and Newcombe. Legends like Lasorda, Jaime, and Vin Scully. Not to mention the current cast of stars in Kershaw, Greinke, Beckett, Dre, Kemp, Kenleys, Gonzo, Hanley & Wilson. Oh and did I mention Don Mattingly, Tim Wallach, Rick Honeycutt, Davey Lopes and Mark McGwire were on the coaching staff too? I walked into a clubhouse everyday and had to remind myself that I belonged in this star-studded room. At the end of the day, I was just trying to make the club and prove to Ned Colletti that I was worth the gamble he took on me. And that’s where this chapter began.
“To say that my life took a turn for the better the day I put on a Dodger uniform is an understatement. I had no idea the opportunity I was going to have to leave my mark on this storied franchise. I grew from a 25th man, to an everyday 3rd baseman, to a two-time All-Star (thanks to you, the fans) to a World Series champion and the biggest accomplishment of all, the Roberto Clemente Award winner. I married my amazing wife, Kourtney, with a little help from ‘Reverend’ Orel Hershiser.
“We started our foundation and have been blessed to meet so many amazing people in the community, both those who needed uplifting and those with generous hearts who wanted to help impact others. All of this happened while being embraced by so many Angelinos and Dodger fans across the world. I can’t express how much putting on that Dodgers uniform has shaped my life in the best way possible.
“There aren’t enough thank-yous in a lifetime to express how grateful I am to every single person who was a part of making this chapter so special. My hope is that I was able to have just a fraction of the impact on you as you all have had on me. From ownership to the front office, coaches, strength and training staff, R&D, my teammates, the stadium workers, security guards, flight attendants, grounds crew, media, family, friends and most importantly the fans, THANK YOU. Thank you for embracing Kourt and I, thank you for your unconditional love, and thank you for making this post so incredibly difficult to write.”
Turner’s mark on the franchise is undeniable, the heartbeat for an offense that scored more runs than any other National League team since his arrival. In Turner’s nine years in Los Angeles, the Dodgers made the playoffs nine times, including eight division titles, winning 61.8 percent of its games since the start of 2014, a 100-win pace over a 162-game season.
Only Ron Cey and Adrián Beltré played more games at third base in Dodgers history than Turner, who is the franchise postseason leader in home runs, hits, doubles, total bases, runs, RBI, walks, and hit by pitch.
The Dodgers posted a video goodbye to Turner as well on Friday.
“JT, all of us at the Dodgers are forever grateful for everything that you’ve done, both on and off the field for this organization,” broadcaster Joe Davis said to open the video. “Your impact on the team was immense, and you’ll always be a member of the Dodger family.”
Turner’s one-year deal with the Red Sox includes a player option for 2024, with the total deal guaranteeing him $21.7 million over two years. He gets $8.3 million in 2023, while the player option for $13.4 million in 2024 includes a $6.7-million buyout, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, which means if Turner opts out after this season he will have made $15 million.
Also per Heyman, Turner can earn up to $1 million in performance bonuses — $200,000 for each of 480, 500, 520, 540, and 560 plate appearances. Turner batted 532 times in 2022, and had 612 plate appearances in 2021.
Turner joins a Red Sox team that has former Dodgers teammates Enrique Hernández, Kenley Jansen, Alex Verdugo, and Chris Martin, and Turner’s new manager Alex Cora was his teammate withe the Mets in 2010.
Turner on Friday said the Dodgers were one of four teams to make him a formal offer, but ultimately Los Angeles opted instead to sign free agent J.D. Martinez, who at 35 is three years younger than Turner.
“To be quite honest, going into the offseason, I made it pretty clear that I had a very strong interest in returning there and continuing on with them,” Turner said Friday in his introductory Zoom call. “But as things shook out and time went on, I started having conversations with other teams, including the Red Sox.”