Justin Turner had a big NLCS against the Cubs as the Dodgers advanced to their first World Series since 1988.
Turner's walkoff home run in Game 2 was the first walkoff hit by a Dodger in the postseason since Kirk Gibson's walkoff homer against Dennis Eckersley and the A's in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
The 32-year-old Turner, who was non-tendered by the Mets after the 2013 season before signing a minor league deal with the Dodgers, has hit .368/.481/.632 with five HR in 26 postseason games (six series) from 2014 to 2017.
Since leaving the Mets, he's hitting .303 with a .378 OBP, .502 SLG, and 79 HR in four seasons (516 games) with the Dodgers.
During his time with the Mets from 2010 to 2013, when he played in 301 games, Turner never hit more than four home runs in a single season. His highest slugging percentage during his Mets tenure was .392.
After Turner was non-tendered, there was a report that the Mets were frustrated by his lack of effort, with GM Sandy Alderson saying "don't assume every non-tender is a function of money."
That offseason, former Mets OF Marlon Byrd helped motivate Turner to get in better shape.
"Byrd helped motivate Turner to get into better physical condition two offseasons ago when the players worked out together in Southern California's San Fernando Valley," Mark Saxon wrote for ESPN in July of 2015. "Last winter, Turner was among the most frequent visitors to Dodger Stadium, where he worked closely with Dodgers strength and conditioning coach Brandon McDaniel."
Additionally, according to David Waldstein of the NY Times, Turner had started altering his swing in the months before the Mets released him.
"At the time the Mets released him, Turner was deep into the process of restructuring his swing path and approach at the plate so he could pull the ball more and hit it in the air more frequently," Waldstein wrote this past August. "Turner had started tinkering with his swing at the end of that 2013 season, batting .357 in September along with his only two home runs that year, and he then spent five days a week in the batting cage from October through November before Alderson's call."
Murphy's situation was complicated. However, in the case of Turner, his being non-tendered was always confusing because it never appeared that he was lazy on the field. In fact, I mostly recall him being the opposite. Instead, it became clear that Turner's release had more to do with his happy-go-lucky, party-guy lifestyle and him seeming content to always be just a bench player. I think that approach to the game, more than his hustle, rubbed people the wrong way.
Also, remember, Turner was released in 2013, when the Mets were 74-88, had yet to get to the postseason, were still very much rebuilding the roster and team culture, and he was about to be eligible for arbitration. Simply put, I assume Terry Collins and Alderson felt Turner was more of an obstacle (in multiple ways) than a potential All Star.
Similarly, people that know Turner have told me he's a totally different person in Los Angeles today than he was in New York. In the year or so after leaving the Mets, he fell in love, matured, latched on with a group of dedicated teammates, committed himself to becoming a starting player, and he has never looked back. Justin was a nice, serviceable utility guy for the Mets in his late-20s, but has clearly worked his way in to becoming a well-rounded, All-Star third baseman for the Dodgers.
His transformation at his age is incredibly rare. It's an amazing story with no guarantee that it would have worked out the same had he remained in Queens. In either case, for the Mets, who are in major need of power at third or someone to play second, it doesn't help having to see Turner hit home runs and generate headlines in LA.