Dodgers 2016 Player Review: Justin Turner
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

After undergoing microfracture knee surgery during the offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers eased Justin Turner back into baseball activities in Spring Training. The domino effect resulted in Turner getting off to a slow start this season.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts stuck with his third baseman and was rewarded. Turner got into the swing of things and put together another productive campaign. In 151 games, Turner hit .275/.339/.493 with 27 home runs and 90 RBIs while also being named a finalist for a Gold Glove.

He finished ninth in National League MVP voting — or one spot ahead of NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.

On top of all of this, Turner was by all accounts one of the key pieces in a clubhouse that was a big part of the Dodgers’ success.

Again, it’s an amazing turn of events for a player who was simply cut by the New York Mets after the 2013 season. Since joining the Dodgers, Turner has appeared in 386 games and played every position in the infield.

Turner batted .296/.364/.492 with 81 doubles, 50 home runs, 193 RBI and a 136 OPS+ over the past three seasons with Los Angeles, and is now one of their key free agents.

2016 Highlight

In a season as good as Turner’s, it’s difficult to choose just one highlight. During the regular season, Turner’s best game was against the Washington Nationals on July 21.

In the first inning, Turner smashed a two-run home run off of Stephen Strasburg that gave the Dodgers an early lead. Then in the third, Turner came up again against Strasburg and clubbed another homer — this time a three-run shot — that extended the lead to 6-1. The Dodgers went on to win the game, 6-3.

The second highlight isn’t a particular moment, but rather the entire 2016 postseason. For the second straight year, Turner was the team’s best offensive player in the playoffs — going 10-for-35 with two home runs and seven walks.

In the process, Turner set the Dodgers franchise record for most consecutive playoff games reaching base (15); a streak that was snapped on the same day the team’s season ended.

2017 Outlook

The big mystery, isn’t it. After rejecting the Dodgers’ qualifying offer, Turner is currently a free agent, and one of the best out there. MLB Trade Rumors has Turner as the No. 4 free agent on the market, and projects him to receive a five-year, $85 million contract (from the Dodgers).

In all seriousness, it makes too much sense for Turner to remain in Los Angeles. The Dodgers need a third baseman, they need him in the clubhouse and they need his ability to produce in the playoffs.

Add in the fact that Turner is a local kid, and that another team would have to forfeit a first-round pick to sign him, and, well, come on.