LOS ANGELES – Although it was impossible to see October from on-deck circles at the All-Star Game in Denver, the future of the Los Angeles Dodgers ever met the present on that July evening.
As they prepared to hit the start of the eighth inning, Tree Turner, who was determined to advance, looked at Justin Turner, who would bat second, and could not help noticing the moment. This, Tree told Justin, marks the first time two turners have hit back-to-back in a lineup.
“Then, a few weeks later, he’s traded over here,” Justin Turner said during a recent batting-practice conversation in San Francisco, where the Dodgers were navigating the tense NL Division series against the Giants. “And now here we are in back-to-back hitting playoffs, so that’s great.”
For the Dodgers, this lineup is much more than just the symmetry on the cards. Tree Turner has made an impression on almost every game since joining pitcher Max Schaezer a blockbuster business With the Washington Nationals on July 30. Although the headliner in that deal was Scherzer, Turner has promoted the Dodgers daily.
“I think he’s a serious MVP candidate,” Justin Turner said. “He influences the game in so many different ways, defensively, on bases, with his bat, with power, it’s incredible. And you add a guy like this to our lineup, it makes it more lengthens it too.”
When the Dodgers won Game 2 in San Francisco, it was Tree Turner who committed a sluggish offense with a double to begin his sixth inning of four. Then, the Giants threatened at the bottom of the innings, it was His sensational defensive game — diving and smoothing a ground ball past second base — which helped keep Los Angeles in the lead.
It was even more so than Turner, who has been making such an impact since joining the Dodgers on August 6 – his arrival in Los Angeles was delayed a few days after the trade deadline as he suffered a bout with the coronavirus. had recovered.
He won the National League batting title with an average of .328, becoming the first Dodgers to win after Tommy Davis won consecutive crowns in 1962 and 1963. He also led the Chiefs in the hits (195) and NL in steels (32), batting. Average against left-handed pitching (.392), multi-hit games (58), infield hits (33) and total bases (319). The last Dodger to lead the league in both batting average and steals? Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson.
turner runs like the wind And several of his slides have gone viral, most notably one of them floating across the plate in Philadelphia before rising back to his feet in the same motion.
“It’s just majestic,” Justin Turner said of Turner’s slides. “I tell him I try to do the same thing except I only go four feet because I’m not fast enough. He goes about 17 feet. It’s fun to watch.”
Tree Turner’s slides are often dissected and enjoyed within a group lesson that takes place among Dodgers players. Justin Turner said that Tree’s slides “are constantly being fed with all the different songs and all the different GIFs, so it’s a lot of fun.”
Fitting in with his new team has been easy, Tree said, from baseball to his participation in the Dodgers’ fantasy football league to group lessons.
“Anything you can joke about or share and create chemistry together, I’m all for it,” he previously said 1-0 loss to the Dodgers In Game 3 on Monday night. “I think that’s what helps with winning championships, when you can laugh and have fun with each other, whether it’s a joke or a slide or a play, if you can share those experiences, that’s it. This is good thing.”
Between steals and GIFs and wins, the Dodgers most likely can’t believe their luck that Turner, who helped the Nationals win the 2019 World Series, is now on their territory. Going into July, the Dodgers intended to be a serious player for Scherzer if the Nationals provided him as he needed to fill the void left by Trevor Bauer, who Haven’t pitched since June 28 After being accused of sexual abuse.
Privately, the Dodgers were interested in trading for Turner as well. According to Andrew Friedman, the team’s president of baseball operations, the Dodgers were told Monday by trade deadline week that Scherzer was available but Turner was not.
“Then on Wednesday we realized a little bit of an opening, and by Thursday, we had lined up and got it,” Friedman said.
The Nationals had previously attempted to sign Turner to a long-term contract, but were unable to reach a deal. Then, once the Mets signed for Francisco Lindor 10 years and $341 million This spring, it was clear that, with Turner taking control of the club until 2022, the shortstop market had changed significantly. That, and by July mounting evidence that his team needed to restore its system, prompted Mike Rizzo, the national president of baseball operations, to move aggressively.
The cost was high for Los Angeles, with the team that included its top prospect, catcher Keibert Ruiz, and highly regarded pitcher Josiah Gray in the four-player package the Dodgers sent to Washington. It’s difficult to evaluate a deal without the benefit of knowing those possibilities, but the short-term results for the Dodgers have been incredible.
“Obviously, he’s been a big part of what we did over the past two months, and we expect to be a big part of what we do this October,” Friedman said of Turner.
At the top of his game on the field, Turner’s personality has disarmed what could be an awkward situation. Corey Seeger, a two-time All-Star at Shortstop, is eligible for free agency this winter and, as the Dodgers plan their next move, has put an end to speculation about his future. At least, Turner, who was Washington’s shortstop but is playing second base for the Dodgers, represents an infield insurance policy for 2022.
“We did it to maximize our chances of winning in ’21,” Friedman said when asked about an ulterior motive in acquiring Turner. “And once we get to this off-season, we’ll wrap our arms around it.”
Turner agreed to the status change and, by all accounts, he and Seeger have gotten along well.
“Me and Corey, it’s been great,” Turner said. “He is an incredible player and he has helped me a lot to learn everybody, learn the coaches, know what they expect from us here. He’s really cool, really professional.”
Turner said the big challenge is knowing how to play second base.
“It seems like every day I get a little more comfortable adding equipment to my game, whether it’s with double play or taking angles,” he said. “I just have to keep practicing and learning things and be on top of it and keep pretending whenever these pitchers need me.”
On most nights, he looks natural. “You have two shortstops on the field,” Justin Turner said. “So it’s a luxury.”
Perhaps the most public display of how good Turner is regarded by teammates new and old was during the NL wild-card game against St. Louis when national outfielder Juan Soto walked to home plate wearing the national jersey with Turner’s name on it. Shown in the back front row. At that (he was accompanied by National Hitting Coach Kevin Long, who wore the Scherzer jersey).
“Incredible,” Turner said. “It was one of the best things that happened to me in my career.”
Scherzer has spoken eloquently about the lifelong bonds created by the World Series-winning team, and that night was a prime example. So, too, Scherzer’s animated phone call to Turner happened the night he learned they would be the Dodgers.
“I remember how excited he was and it made me feel excited too,” Turner said. “I was excited to be here, but to share that same experience with him, to have another ring chase, was something we really enjoyed. We love to win, so it’s fun to be here “