After spending four years with the New York Mets, Southern California native Justin Turner returned home by signing a Minor-League deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He impressed during Spring Training and had his contract purchased and earned a spot on the Opening Day roster.
The Dodgers were in need of infielders off the bench after last year’s key contributors went elsewhere. Injuries to Juan Uribe and Hanley Ramirez resulted in Turner receiving time at third and shortstop, although he wound up filling in all over the infield throughout the year.
Turner’s versatility combined with a breakout year at the plate led to him becoming a key piece of the Dodger lineup during the season. In 108 games, Turner led the team with a .340 batting average while also hitting seven home runs and 43 RBIs.
Turner got two at-bats during the NLDS but failed to register a hit.
With the Dodgers trying to hold off the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, Turner stepped up during the teams’ final series against none other than Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
Dee Gordon was given the night off as manager Don Mattingly opted to use Turner as the starting second basemen. Turner hit leadoff and started the scoring early with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning.
Turner hit another home run off Bumgarner in the eighth inning to give the Dodgers an insurance run that extended their lead to 4-2 while also ending Bumgarner’s night. Kenley Jansen closed the game out to set the stage for Clayton Kershaw to pitch with the division on the line the following night.
The contract Turner signed was good for one-year as he now enters the offseason eligible for salary arbitration. With the uncertainty over the shortstop position and Uribe’s hamstring troubles, Turner figures to be a piece the Dodgers could use.
As his regular season indicated, Turner is setup to be a quality utility player for the Dodgers while also providing the needed hitting off the bench whenever he isn’t starting.