We are T-minus 23 days away from getting back Dodger baseball with their first game being tentatively scheduled to happen on July 23, at Dodger Stadium against the San Francisco Giants.
Accompanying its return are various rule changes for this season as well as the 2021 season that includes the implementation of the DH in the NL, mostly division play with some games against their geographic counterpart (NL West vs. AL West), no high fives or seeds, etc. The rule change that Dodgers’ third baseman Justin Turner isn’t fully on board with is the placement of a runner on second in extra innings. On his wife Kourtney Turner’s Holding Kourt Podcast, Turner expresses his concern about it by saying:
“I think at the end of the day you got to protect the pitchers and you got to limit their innings and their number of pitches.”
While the idea of having a runner on second may sound great on paper, it doesn’t necessarily protect pitchers or ensure that the games come to a swift end and not go deep into extra innings. For one thing, the game could end up going back and forth with each team bringing that runner home every inning which would call for the use of more pitchers and extend the game further. Data has shown that it has been somewhat successful in the minor leagues, but this is a whole new level with better pitchers and hitters. Turner instead has been a big supporter for a home run derby to settle a tie. While that idea may be appalling to some fans, it would truly protect pitchers if that is the goal for MLB, while also making for great television.
— Justin Turner (@redturn2) June 24, 2020
Another part of the rule changes is there will be no restrictions on position players being able to pitch. The league was in discussion prior to the season to add a rule change that would only allow the use of position players to pitch in extra innings, if the team was trailing by 7+ runs, or if they were a designated two-way player.
That opens up the possibility for the Dodgers to re-sign one of the best pitchers they’ve had, Russell Martin (Yes, I know he’s a catcher). Turner was all for the idea of bringing back Martin.
“Sign Russ. Russ, Russ if you’re listening to the podcast, we need you. Not [just] because of your pitching skill, we love you for everything.”
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 27, 2019
Martin made four appearances as a pitcher in 2019 allowing two hits, with two strikeouts en route to a perfect 0.00 ERA. While that surely is a small sample size for a player that has caught for most of his career, could it be a way back to the Dodgers for Martin? I’m sure fans would have no objection to it. Seeing him back with the club to provide leadership and possibly pitching would be a great sight to see this season.