December 3, 2013

Don't Be Surprised If Turner Signs Quickly Elsewhere

Justin Turner was a surprise non-tender by the Mets yesterday, coming at the end of his fourth season with the team. News of his seeming dismissal was received with a little bit too much excitement, in my opinion, given his ability to play multiple infield positions and his effective hitting in an off-the-bench and part time role. I partially understand why fans were okay with seeing him leave; Turner, a mediocre player and a favorite of Terry Collins, had come to represent the underachieving franchise in a bad way. His excitement and pep was viewed as a bit corny by fans, and maybe seemed a bit out of place given the lack of success the team has had, but I think he was genuinely good in the clubhouse.
Photo by Michael Baron

That said, he won't be homeless long.

Turner hit .280 last year in 200 at bats and .265 for his entire Met career, an effective run for a player who will only be expected to come in as a backup or to fill in for days off and injuries. He can be used as a pinch hitter late in games and then shuffled into any infield position, making him an ideal National League role player. He may not be a necessary cog in the works of a championship club, but he will continue to be an effective field and clubhouse presence elsewhere. To those who believe Turner was of no use to the team or deserved to be cut from the roster, I assure you the Mets failures did not stem from his work off of the bench. It stemmed from the string of starting position players that belonged on the bench with him.

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  1. I suspect this means the Met will sign a mediocre SS as a hedge against a bad Tejada season, i.e. Furcal or Barmes or someone like him for $1-2M and use turners savings to offset it. The thinking being Tovar may be ready for a shot at the ML level late in the season and be a better defensive bench player than Turner, just if he can hit at all remains to be seen. This is no big deal, just the normal progression, the organization needs to put every dollar into starters and look to Satin and Tovar type guys to fill bench rolls. Satin will cover back up 1B & 3B, Turner wasn't much of a SS and shouldn't take ABs from Satin so might as well put his 800K towards a solid defensive middle infielder as a back-up.

  2. I think he can be a very useful part of a team that has actual professional hitters in the lineup. If you need him to be a 3, 4, or 5 hitter every day, he's not your guy.