Spring Training sucks. That is especially true when superstars get hurt playing in these meaningless games. Justin Turner of the Dodgers definitely agrees with me on this one.
On Monday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers all-star third baseman was plunked by a Kendall Graveman pitch that broke his left wrist.
Fortunately, Turner does not need surgery on his wrist. Still, he is expected to be out of the Dodgers for several weeks. Will LA be able to handle the loss of their red-headed superstar? The answer, in short, is yes.
Turner is very valuable to the Dodgers. Since being acquired from the New York Mets, through waivers I may add, Turner has put together a slash line of .303 / .378 / .502. Not bad for a guy that got cut.
Despite his performance, the Dodgers are still going to be able to survive these few weeks without him. Turner has only played over 150 games one time in the four seasons with LA, so the Dodgers have become accustomed to not seeing him on the field for all 162. Even those years where Turner didn’t reach 150 games, the Dodgers still won the National League West. And even without good ol’ red beard the Dodgers have plenty of talent to be a 90+ win team.
In 2018 LA will, barring another injury, get a full season from rookie phenom Cody Bellinger and former Cy-Young winner Clayton Kershaw. They also still have closer Kenley Jansen who is pretty much as close to un-hittable as you get. Not to mention fans probably being seeing the reinvented “wild horse” ,Yasiel Puig, roaming right field at Dodger stadium for a majority of the year. Yes, there are regression candidates on the Dodgers, like Chris Taylor and Alex Wood, but they have a ton of guys that can bounce back.
Joc Pederson was once a top prospect for a reason. During his rookie year, Pederson displayed the tremendous power he has and if he plays like he has the ability to, it will seem like Turner isn’t even missing. And even if Pederson struggles, they can put their old friend Matt Kemp, who has been raking this Spring, in left field.
Other guys that could bounce back for big blue include Logan Forsythe and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Forsythe will presumably take the open spot at third that Turner left but you have to believe he is going to hit better than the .224 he did last year. Before coming over to Los Angeles, Forsythe was a key member of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015 and 2016. He hit .281 in 2015 and .264 in 2016 while belting 17 and 20 home runs respectively so expect a bounce back season from him.
Ryu is a whole different story. The southpaw has dealt with a ton of injuries since coming to the MLB but when he is on the field he is pretty damn good. He has accumulated a 3.41 career ERA in 81 starts so a full season from him will definitely lessen the blow of Turner’s injury.
The only real reason to worry about Turner’s injury is because of how teams in the NL West have improved this offseason. The Rockies stacked their bullpen, the Padres added former Royals star Eric Hosmer, and the Giants added Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. The only team that took a step back is the Diamondbacks who lost out on the J.D. Martinez sweepstakes to the Red Sox. But remember, teams on paper don’t always translate to the field so I am sure one of the NL West teams will fall short of expectations.
The Dodgers have plenty of talent ( and I didn’t even mention Corey Seager!) to fill the void Turner’s injury leaves, so Dodger fans, don’t be pressing the panic button quite yet.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)