Turner dishes on holiday traditions, offseason

December 21st, 2016
If he had to buy a gift for one teammate, Trea Turner says it would be Anthony Rendon. (AP)

WASHINGTON -- will have some peace of mind this offseason as he prepares to enter the 2017 campaign with a defined role as the shortstop for the Nationals. So after a breakout rookie season that saw him finish second in the voting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award, Turner will take it easy for a few days to enjoy Christmas with his family in Florida, including competing in a fun -- and competitive -- annual family tradition.

Helping to continue a tradition that dates to the early days of MLB.com, Turner took a few minutes last week to chat about his offseason and to share some holiday memories.

MLB.com: How does the offseason change now that you're heading into the season as a big leaguer?

Turner: It's funny, I've always wanted to work crazy hard. You just start doing everything at the gym for hours and hours, and I still do that, but I think my preparation has become a lot smarter. I think last year, when I got called up, I figured out what I wanted to do hitting-wise and now I feel like I don't have to hit all offseason -- I can wait, give myself some time off and then work on the few things that I want. The difference, I think, is being wiser and smarter and knowing how to prepare a little bit better.

MLB.com: Where do you train?

Turner: I do most of it in Raleigh, N.C., back at N.C. State. That's where I mostly work out, but I go home for the holidays and whatnot.

MLB.com: What Christmas traditions did you guys have in the Turner household?

Turner: We play Amazing Race on New Year's Eve. My mom or aunt makes a whole list of things that we have to find, and we split up into teams. Sometimes it's like a Chinese takeout menu or take a picture with a cop, so on New Year's Eve we're running around all over the place going into restaurants and different things. People think we're crazy, but it's pretty fun.

MLB.com: When did this tradition start?

Turner: I'd probably say six, seven, eight years ago, somewhere in there, long time.

MLB.com: Does your team win?

Turner: Not always. We don't know who cheats and who does what so (laughing) ... it's actually a pretty difficult game.

MLB.com: What's at the top of your wish list?

Turner: Geez, I don't know. World Series? That's the easy answer, even if you win one, you want another one. But I guess just family and friends and teammates, just being in good graces with everybody and enjoying those moments. But I would love a World Series as well.

MLB.com: What's the best gift you've ever given?

Turner: I'm not a good gift-giver, other than the fact that I like surprising people. I usually give what people ask for but I try to make it seem like I'm not buying it. So I think I do a good job of surprising people but I don't know how creative the gifts are, because maybe somebody asked for it in June or July and they end up getting it for Christmas. So I end up surprising them a little bit.

MLB.com: If you had to buy a gift for a teammate, who would it be and what would you get them?

Turner: I'd probably buy something, either something funny or something he'd enjoy like cowboy boots. He is my favorite player and whatnot, so I have to keep him happy.

MLB.com: What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Turner: The Grinch or Home Alone.