Justin Turner started to remake his swing late in the 2013 season on the advice of Mets teammate Marlon Byrd. It was too little, too late for New York, who non-tendered JT to make room on their 40-man roster for guys like Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon.
The Dodgers showed interest in Turner, with general manager Ned Colletti having four bench spots to fill after the departures of Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto and the retirements of Michael Young and Jerry Hairston Jr. As Ken Rosenthal wrote in The Athletic:
[Colletti] viewed Turner as an average defender, better at second than at third, but a promising enough utility man.
Colletti and Turner eventually agreed on a one-year, $1 million contract, but a knee issue revealed during his physical led them to convert it to a minor-league deal. Looking back at what JT has become, it’s almost scary how many little things could have gone differently and prevented Turner from ever putting on the Dodger blue.
But he did, and on Monday, he was presented with the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award for the humanitarian work he and his wife, Kourtney, do through their Justin Turner Foundation. On social media, Colletti penned an epic tribute to perhaps his greatest legacy from his time as Dodgers general manager.
“Through the years there were many players signed. … There are a few special ones. … There have probably been 1000 or more players thru 40 seasons; few we can be prouder of than [Justin and Kourtney].”
Turner and Colletti will be forever linked in Dodgers history, so it’s a fitting tribute.
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