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Dodgers 2020-21 Free Agents: Justin Turner

Perhaps no Dodger, save Clayton Kershaw, is more beloved in Los Angeles than Justin Turner. Not only is an exceptional hitter, especially in the clutch, and a surprisingly good fielder, he loves the Dodgers and the Los Angeles community as much as they love him. Moreover, Turner grew up in Los Angeles rooting for the Dodgers and still lives there in the offseason. He's part of the city, and the city is a part of him. Turner's work with his foundation was so prolific that recently Los Angeles dubbed August 22nd as "Justin Turner Day."

He was the first and best example of what Andrew Friedman has been able to do with the Dodgers. Essentially, Friedman and his team found a random player and turned him into a superstar, like he's now done with Chris Taylor and Max Muncy. An All-Star in 2017 and deserving in many other years, Turner's impact with the Dodgers has been immeasurable, with his most memorable moment coming in the form of a walk-off home run in Game 2 of the 2017 NLCS exactly 29 years after Kirk Gibson's in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

While Turner has certainly been a leader off the field, he is also one of the most prominent leaders in the clubhouse. Kershaw, Jansen, and Turner (a Holy Trinity, if you will) have helped groom nearly the entire current roster of the Dodgers, especially the homegrown players (save Pedro Baez, perhaps), into the unit they are today. Surely the Dodgers we see today, the playful, laid-back, cohesive group of guys, are a result of Turner's leadership behind the scenes. They're a reflection of his personality: friendly, but ready to strike when necessary and a formidable force under the right circumstances.

Turner has had trouble staying healthy the past few years, but such is the price to pay for greatness. He's always been healthy and able to hit in October, which is really all that matters with the Dodgers. I think it would be stupid of the Dodgers not to overpay a bit for a few more years of the leadership and clutch hitting Turner can provide. Hopefully, his injury risk and age, along with the incredible depth of talent at third base in the Majors right now, can deter other teams from trying to poach Justin Turner from Los Angeles.

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©2020 by Sam Scherer