This idea never crossed Trea Turner’s mind.
Turner, who was forced to isolate himself after a positive test for COVID-19 during a series against the Phillies on his way home from Philadelphia last July, did not know he was playing his last game for the Washington Nationals.
Less than a week before the end of last year’s trading season, All-Star did not take seriously the possibility of being replaced by the only team he played in his MLB career.
“I never thought it would happen,” Turner said.
Almost a year later, Turner was greeted as a guest in Washington on Monday night, returning to Nationals Park with the Dodgers for the first time since getting him a blockbuster deal last July.
Turner, though not emotionally sentimental, was reflected in his return home.
He recalled the highlights of Citizens’ activities – big moments, mainly the team’s 2019 World Series Championship and small, for example, annual trips to the daily playground for driving or spring training.
He met with former coaches and teammates. He put his hat in front of the crowd during a pre-match video presentation.
“It’s fun to remember, to watch all these videos, to see the fond memories they used there,” Turner said later. “It’s been a long time, I think.”
In fact, a lot has changed for Turner in just 10 months. He drove 3,000 miles. His flourishing career took a new path.
And in his first full season in Los Angeles, he focused on doing something his new team couldn’t do last year – even after a transformational trade that was praised by a once-anxious short-term player.
“I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all,” Turner said. “Because I ended up in a really good place, with a really good team and more chances to win the World Series.”
At this time last year, the Nationals thought they could still claim the championship.
They struggled in the first few months of the 2021 season, but then warmed up in June and played more than .500 in two games a month before the deadline.
“I felt we could run in an instant,” said Daniel Hudson, the team’s comforter, who signed with the Dodgers this season.
But then the bottom came out. It started in July with a sweep in the hands of the Dodgers. It became an 8-18 extension that took the Nationals out of the playoffs shortly after the All-Star break.
When Turner received the COVID – he was suspended in the middle of the game against the Phillies on July 27, four days before the deadline – rumors began to circulate about every valuable asset on the team, including the 28-year-old shorts. .
Turner first saw his name mentioned in the reports the day before, but did not know what to do about it.
Unlike a few waiting free agents, including Max Scherzer, Hudson and five others who eventually agreed – Turner was under the control of the team for another half season. Although he and the team did not make progress in negotiating a contract extension, he did not intend to leave.
“I didn’t necessarily know what to believe,” Turner said. “It simply came to our notice then. I’m shopping. Ah, no, I’m not. You just have Twitter to look at. It was a kind of wild walk. “
The Dodgers approached the deadline in a very different place.
The fact that Trevor Bauer was on administrative leave, the squad struggling with injuries and their ranks needed another big bat, and baseball operations president Andrew Friedman knew the team would be looking for high-level talent.
And the Nationals quickly emerged as the most attractive trading partner.
Friedman said the clubs’ initial negotiations were based solely on Scherzer. In return, the national team wanted the best prospects Keibert Ruiz. The Dodgers paid such a high price for a hired player, even for a player with three Cy Young awards.
As the week went on, Turner’s name came up for discussion.
Friedman said at first it felt like a long shot. “I wasn’t necessarily optimistic or optimistic about that,” he said recently. But then, “they came back and said they were ready to work on this line.” Then we all had to try to come up with a kind of deal. “
There were complications. In addition to Ruiz, the most promising Josiah Gray was also part of the package. Scherzer was a 10-year veteran and spent five seasons with the Nationals, having to approve any deal.
The day before the deadline brought another unexpected twist. Shortly after the Dodgers made an offer to the Nationals, a report emerged that the San Diego Padres had already agreed to buy Scherzer.
“I was nervous for about half a second when I saw that report,” Friedman said.
The report quickly proved wrong.
Padres eventually made a smaller deal for Hudson and soon dropped out of the playoffs.
“They thought Cy Young would win; instead, they get moderate relief, ”Hudson said with an insulting laugh. “I understand why the kids will be disappointed.”
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have completed their trade for Scherzer and Turner by the end of the day, adding the last two pieces to the team they hope will win their second consecutive title.
“I remember talking to Max before and immediately after the trade,” Turner said. “She was very excited, it made me feel good. Because I didn’t know what to expect. “
A year later, the final price for the blockbuster trade remains incomplete.
Turner and Scherzer helped the Dodgers finish their regular season strong, but failed to win the club division. He could not defend the World Series championship. This winter or Scherzer could not re-sign Turner, who is a free agent after this season, has been linked with a long-term extension.
The Dodgers, who made an impressive start to their first full MLB season, lost their best prospects in Ruiz and Gray, who is already a fixture in the starting rotation to face his former team for the first time on Tuesday night.
But in this week’s series in Washington, the Dodgers have no regrets in their first meeting with the Nationals since last year’s trade – neither from Turner, who continues to settle comfortably in his new home, nor from the team that managed to do so. Creating another star list this year, knowing that Turner will be at the center of the squad.
“Yes, we didn’t win the World Series last year, but I felt our organization gave us a chance,” said manager Dave Roberts. “And this year at Trea we have a player who is our daily stop. I think he won for everyone. “
Although he ended last season in tears, Turner had adjustments as he won the NL hit title and finished fifth in the MVP poll.
The team’s very detailed internal process, from daily reconnaissance reports to general analytical assessments, was something he had never experienced.
Roberts felt there was a moment last year when Turner was “a little upset.”
“I have to do it a little dumb and not look at a lot of things because it never ends,” Turner said. “It simply came to our notice then. And then learning to apply it, I think they do it well here. ”
Even Turner, who currently leads the team at RBI (32), is second in midfield (.289) and enters Tuesday with a 15-game shooting streak, his growing familiarity has led Roberts to make a promising statement recently.
“I really believe there is more to it in terms of performance,” the manager said.
Friedman also saw a difference.
“I think it’s hard to let go of a situation in which a star player is traded in the middle of the season and the dynamics that just help them become a star player,” Friedman said. “Since the spring training, I’ve seen Trean in a more comfortable place to communicate with his teammates and coaches. It was a lot of fun to watch him reach that level. ”
This is closer to the comfort that Turner felt before he was removed from the National List and rebuilt.
Despite their struggles last season, Turner insisted he did not want to leave. He thought he would play in Washington for a long time. Until last year’s trade was official, he had a hard time imagining himself anywhere else.
On Monday, he revisited the blockbuster deal, saying, “I don’t know if it will take a while to figure it out.” “I think it made me a little careless.”
However, he said he did not feel any ill will towards his old team and tried not to think about what might happen.
A year away from the trade, he embraced his new surroundings in LA
Any doubts about adapting to the Dodgers have long since disappeared.
“I said it when I was there, I wanted to play there for the rest of my career, and I was serious about it,” Turner said. “But it didn’t work out … Things are happening, everything is changing. And they often work for the better. “
“I think it works well,” he added.