Los Angeles Dodgers 2020 Player Reviews: Justin Turner

The Los Angeles Dodgers likely would not have won their first World Series since 1988 without contributions from Mookie Betts and Corey Seager, but that isn’t to downplay the importance Justin Turner has played in the clubhouse and community.

When A.J. Ellis was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016, he referred to Turner as the “heart and soul” of the team. It was a sentiment that was reiterated during the postseason this year.

“He’s the heart and soul of this team,” Austin Barnes said after Game 3 of the World Series. “He’s been the heart and soul. Getting those runs across early was huge. J.T. is a big player for us, he’s a great guy in the clubhouse and we rely on him all the time.”

Prior to getting to that point, Turner again was a steady presence in the Dodgers lineup, slowed only by some minor hamstring trouble. He appeared in 42 games and hit .307/.400/.460 with nine doubles, four home runs and 23 RBI.

Turner uncharacteristically was a bit slow to get going during the postseason but did string together a seven-game hitting streak that spanned from Game 3 of the National League Division Series to Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

Then after going 0-for-2 with two walks in Game 7 against the Atlanta Braves, Turner hit safely in four consecutive World Series games. Included in that were back-to-back days with a home run in the first inning to give the Dodgers an early lead.

Turner explained the success and return of power was a byproduct of finding what he had been searching for. “I’ve been grinding away, working away with our hitting guys, trying to get good feels,” Turner explained after Game 3 of the Fall Classic.

“Finally felt a little better tonight and was able to put together five good at-bats. I had a few little blips once or twice a game where I felt like I felt normal, and then I’d lose it. Tonight was really the first time all postseason I felt like I was able to put together five good ones.”

Although the World Series win would be accompanied with unfortunate news that Turner tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), he is the Dodgers’ all-time postseason leader in games played (72), hits (79), home runs (12), RBI (40) and total bases (135).

2020 highlight

Turner had a four-hit effort in a wild extra-innings loss to the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 25, but it was two weeks prior that he reached a milestone with 1,000 career hits. Of those, 781 have come with the Dodgers.

Also this year, he reached 10 years of Major League service time.

2021 outlook

Turner is among the Dodgers’ current free agents, and while the club is said to have interest in re-signing him, the Toronto Blue Jays are among other teams that have been linked to the 36-year-old as well.

Turner reportedly is seeking a three-year contract.

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