Justin Turner wanted to return to the Dodgers, and the Dodgers wanted him back. But Turner said he considered offers from “a few” other teams before signing a four-year, $64-million contract with the Dodgers.
“It’s obviously flattering to be wanted,” Turner said Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to winning championships. I think that this team is on the brink of winning a championship.”
Turner declined to identify the other teams that had extended him a contract offer but said the Angels were not one of them.
The Angels would have been a nice fit for Turner, and vice versa. He attended Mayfair High in Lakewood and Cal State Fullerton. However, he said he did not necessarily consider the Angels as the perfect Plan B because he could have played at home.
“I don’t think it was that important,” he said. “Obviously, I like being at home. I like playing here. But it wasn’t about where I’m at. It was about wanting to be competitive and wanting to win a championship.”
His talks with the Angels were brief, he said, so he did not consider whether he believed he could have won a championship in Anaheim. The Dodgers have won four consecutive division championships, and they have won 13 postseason games since 2009, when the Angels last won one.
“I didn’t do too much homework on them,” Turner said. “I know they have some great players, obviously. It would be pretty amazing to play with [Albert] Pujols and [Mike] Trout and a buddy of mine, Kole Calhoun, who I think is one of the biggest gamers in baseball and one of the most underrated guys in baseball. It would have been a fun opportunity to play over there.
“It’s hard to predict if anyone is going to win a championship. The stars kind of have to align for everyone who wins a World Series.”
Turner, who hit a career-high 27 home runs last season, has slugged .493, .491 and .493 over the last three seasons. Other than Trout, no one on the Angels has posted as high as a slugging percentage in any of the last three seasons.
Still, Turner is 32. Angels owner Arte Moreno has been reluctant to exceed the luxury-tax threshold, and signing Turner also would have cost the Angels a draft choice to replenish a barren farm system and compromised efforts to regain some of the financial flexibility lost in the signings of Pujols and Josh Hamilton, for a combined $375 million.
The Hamilton contract expires after the 2017 season, with the Angels responsible for almost all of it even if Hamilton plays elsewhere this year. The Pujols contract expires after the 2021 season, when he will be 41.
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