Dodgers’ Justin Turner wins MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award

The Dodgers’ season ended so abruptly, so disappointingly, that Justin Turner nearly forgot concerning the piece of {hardware} he was within the working for.

In 5 of the final six seasons, the veteran third baseman had been the Dodgers’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which honors the Main League Baseball participant who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

Lastly profitable it had been on Turner’s large league bucket checklist.

Nevertheless, when he lastly bought the decision this yr, the information caught him off guard.

“With the way the season ended and how everything went,” Turner stated, “this award was actually as far away from being on our mind as it could get.”

It’s entrance of thoughts now. On Monday afternoon, Turner was formally introduced because the Clemente Award winner for the primary time in his profession.

He’s the third Dodger to obtain the distinction, becoming a member of Steve Garvey in 1981 and Clayton Kershaw in 2012.

He will probably be acknowledged by Commissioner Rob Manfred, in addition to members of Clemente’s household who helped decide the award recipient, throughout a information convention earlier than the beginning of Sport 3 of the World Collection at Residents Financial institution Park in Philadelphia on Monday night time.

“It was quite the surprise, and obviously very exciting news for us,” stated Turner, who alongside together with his spouse, Kourtney, began the Justin Turner Basis in 2016 to assist the whole lot from homeless veterans to kids with life-altering illnesses across the Southland.

“Being nominated for five years, and this year getting the ultimate achievement of getting to go out during the World Series and being recognized is something that is pretty special,” Turner added.

Turner, after all, would have most popular being on the World Collection as a participant.

That was the expectation when he and the top-seeded Dodgers started their postseason marketing campaign after a franchise-record 111-win common season.

As an alternative, they had been eradicated in 4 video games within the Nationwide League Division Collection by the San Diego Padres, ending the crew’s season early and leaving Turner’s future unclear.

The soon-to-be 38-year-old has a $16-million membership choice for subsequent yr that the Dodgers haven’t but indicated whether or not they intend to choose up.

Dodgers slugger Justin Turner wraps his left arm across the shoulders of a teammate whereas standing alongside the dugout railing.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Instances)

Throughout his Clemente Award video convention, Turner instructed reporters he was nonetheless ready to search out out what is going to occur, too.

“I’m as aware of my contract status as you guys are,” he stated. “Just in limbo, waiting to hear what’s going to happen. I haven’t heard anything. I haven’t had any conversations. I guess I’m in idle, wait-and-see mode.”

If the Dodgers don’t decide up Turner’s choice and as a substitute pay him a $2-million buyout — a choice that must be made inside 5 days of the tip of the World Collection — it might make Turner a free agent and probably sign the tip of a nine-year run in Los Angeles that has seen the Lakewood native revitalize his profession on and off the sphere.

Reflecting again on his Dodgers tenure throughout his video convention, Turner nonetheless marveled at his turnaround as a participant with the membership, going from an unheralded minor league signing in 2014 to a two-time All-Star and 2020 World Collection champion.

This previous season, Turner remained one of many Dodgers’ best hitters, as properly. He batted .278 with a .788 on-base-plus-slugging proportion and a career-high 36 doubles, although he additionally was certainly one of a number of gamers within the backside half of the lineup to wrestle through the NLDS defeat.

“He’s been a huge part of our success. He’s been right in the thick of everything as long as I’ve been here,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman stated when requested about Turner’s looming choice throughout his end-of-season information convention. “But answering definitely about what next year’s team is going to look like, it’s just really difficult right now.”

It’s troublesome for Turner to think about being anyplace else, too.

Throughout his near-decade again house in Los Angeles, he has gotten married, change into a neighborhood icon and established his basis as a philanthropic pressure.

The latter started in 2016 on the urging of the Dream Heart, an area group that helps individuals scuffling with homelessness and meals insecurity. Organizers requested Turner if he would placed on a golf event fundraiser. Turner, who had been concerned with neighborhood outreach packages throughout his time with Dodgers and New York Mets earlier than that, and Kourtney obliged.

“That set a light bulb off,” Turner stated. “Like, wow, this is amazing that our platform is capable of raising funds to support a cause that’s important to the city of L.A.”

Six years later, the annual golf event is now certainly one of a number of occasions below the umbrella of Turner’s basis. In September, he and Kourtney organized a 5K occasion that drew greater than 1,200 members to the Dream Heart’s Echo Park campus.

“It’s crazy looking back and seeing how everything, on all fronts, took off for me … since the day I put the Dodger uniform on,” Turner stated. “Obviously it’s very special to me, growing up in Southern California and getting to wear that jersey, getting to be a part of an organization that has so much history and so many people who have impacted the game in so many different ways. I’m just trying to do my little part.”

It’s work, Turner added, that he intends to proceed even after his days as a Dodger are accomplished — each time that is perhaps.

“I think it’s something we will always continue,” he stated, “[and] always be giving back and trying to help people in need.”