Justin Turner Rumors
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of National League non-tenders here. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR's Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.
- The Reds non-tendered outfielders Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson, according to the AP. Robinson had been designated for assignment last Thursday to open a roster spot for Skip Schumaker.
- The Rockies have non-tendered reliever Mitchell Boggs, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
- The Dodgers have non-tendered Ronald Belisario, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Marlins have non-tendered outfielder Chris Coghlan and reliever Ryan Webb, the club announced via press release.
- The Pirates have non-tendered Garrett Jones, Michael McKenry, and Kyle McPherson, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Giants have non-tendered Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Cubs have non-tendered Mat Gamel, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The club has also non-tendered Chang-Yong Lim, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com.
- The Mets officially announced their slate of non-tenders, which includes a few new names in Jeremy Hefner and Justin Turner (via tweet from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News).
- The Braves announced that they have non-tendered infielders Elliot Johnson and Paul Janish as well as right-hander Cristhian Martinez (Twitter link). Johnson, 29, batted .209/.255/.283 in 275 plate appearances between the Royals and Braves last season. Janish was less productive in 45 PAs, batting .171/.222/.220. Martinez, 31, missed nearly the entire season due to shoulder surgery. However, he posted a 3.63 ERA in 151 1/3 innings for Atlanta from 2011-12, making him a potential buy-low candidate for another club.
- The Mets have non-tendered Jordany Valdespin, Rubin reports. Valdespin has been a persistent source of drama for the Mets, lashing out at manager Terry Collins after being demoted and also being slapped with a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is a career .219/.271/.380 hitter in 350 big league plate appearances. Valdespin's non-tender comes despite him not yet being arbitration eligible, illustrating the Mets' frustration with the second baseman/outfielder.
- The Cubs will non-tender right-hander Daniel Bard, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. Bard was claimed off waivers in September and never threw a pitch for the Cubs organization. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford notes that Bard was pitching in the Puerto Rican Winter League but walked nine batters while recording just one out. The Cubs could still agree to a non-roster deal with Bard, he adds. Bard's control has vanished into thin air, as the formerly dominant setup man has also walked 56 batters over his past 47 1/3 minor league frames.
- The Mets have informed shortstop Omar Quintanilla that he will be non-tendered, Quintanilla told Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. Quintanilla projected to earn $900K this offseason after batting .222/.306/.283 in a career-high 359 plate appearances last season.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin tweets that the Mets will also non-tender Scott Atchison. The right-hander projected to earn $1.3MM coming off a 4.37 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings. Atchison will turn 38 in late March.
Here's a look at the latest on the Mets..
- The Mets are likely to tender Justin Turner an offer, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The infielder is projected to make $800K by MLBTR's Matt Swartz and the club doesn't view that as an overpay for what Turner provides. The 28-year-old played all over in 2013, seeing time at first base, second base, shortstop, and third base.
- A team insider told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets officials plan to follow the Red Sox's template for rebuilding. While they won't spend as much as Boston did last winter, they'll look to bring in several players on one- to three-year deals rather than dishing out any massive, long-term deals. If they stick to that, they won't be among the clubs in the running for Shin-Soo Choo.
- The Mets need to identify which holes to address as they look ahead to 2014, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Much of their spending will hinge on whether Matt Harvey can avoid going under the knife for his partially torn UCL.
7:50pm: Rubin notes (via Twitter) that the Mets may not actively shop Turner, but will listen to offers on him if a roster crunch arises late in the spring. In his revised article, he notes that manager Terry Collins is a big supporter of Turner.
5:32pm: Given the number of minor league deals the Mets have given to players with strong track records this offseason, the team could face a major 40-man roster crunch at the end of Spring Training, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. As such, the team is expected to gauge interest in infielder Justin Turner over the course of Spring Training.
The 28-year-old Turner has appeared in 211 games for the Mets over the past two seasons, hitting .262/.330/.366 with six homers in 672 plate appearances. He's appeared at all four infield positions in his career, though he hasn't graded out well at his primary position, second base, according to UZR/150 (-18.7) or The Fielding Bible (-16 runs).
As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, Mets GM Sandy Alderson has added pitchers Aaron Laffey,Pedro Feliciano, Scott Atchison and LaTroy Hawkins on minor league deals this winter. He's also brought in Marlon Byrd to compete for an outfield spot, among many other minor league signings.
One player who likely won't find himself as a roster casualty is Jeremy Hefner, whom the Mets claimed off waivers from the Pirates last offseason. Rubin reports that the Mets value Hefner too highly to expose him to waivers. The 26-year-old righty made his Major League debut with the Mets last season, starting 13 games (and appearing in 26 overall). In 93 2/3 innings, Hefner posted a 5.09 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and 43.8 percent ground-ball rate. Advanced metrics such as FIP (3.66) and xFIP (4.21) suggested that Hefner was much better than his ERA indicated, however.
Both Turner and Hefner have one option remaining, so they could open the season at Triple-A. That, however, would not alleviate any 40-man roster issues the Mets could encounter toward the end of Spring Training.
With their pitching needs generally satisfied following the Seth Smith trade, the Rockies have turned their attention to adding another second baseman. They had talks with the Red Sox about Marco Scutaro, and Troy Renck of The Denver Post says they "remain strongly interested" in Justin Turner.
Last month we heard that the Mets have interest in Eric Young Jr., and that the two sides could potentially work out a trade with Turner going to Colorado. At the moment, the Rockies have DJ LeMahieu, Chris Nelson, and Jonathan Herrera penciled in at second base. The 27-year-old Turner hit .260/.334/.356 with four homers and seven steals in 487 plate appearances for he Mets last season, spending most of his time at second while also playing third and a little bit of shortstop.
The Mets have expressed interest in Eric Young Jr. of the Rockies, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Rubin's source indicated that the Mets may be able to obtain Young by sending Justin Turner to Colorado and that the teams continue discussing Jon Niese. However, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that Turner's name hasn't come up yet.
Young, 26, has a .246/.324/.295 line with 15 extra base hits in 479 career plate appearances in three stints at the Major League level as an outfielder and second baseman. The Rockies' plans at second remain unclear, but the outfield has become crowded with the recent additions of Tyler Colvin and Michael Cuddyer.
The Rockies nearly traded Young to the Mariners during the Winter Meetings, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). All signs point to a trade involving Young before Spring Training, Renck reports.
The Orioles may have trouble attracting GM candidates with stature, assuming president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail leaves after the season, Jon Heyman writes at SI.com. Owner Peter Angelos is involved in all the big decisions the Orioles make, sometimes making the calls himself. Angelos loves manager Buck Showalter and there’s some buzz that Angelos could make his manager the GM as well, as unlikely as that seems. Here’s the latest from Heyman:
- Showalter was Angelos’ choice last year, though MacPhail appeared to be leaning toward current Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
- Cal Ripken Jr. doesn’t appear to have interest in becoming a general manager and people close to the longtime Orioles shortstop say they can’t see him working under Angelos as a GM.
- It’s hard to imagine Rangers executive John Hart agreeing to work under Angelos, unless he gets real autonomy.
- Angelos wouldn’t like the idea of hiring a Yankee to turn his franchise around and it appears unlikely that Brian Cashman would leave New York for Baltimore.
- Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, who grew up rooting for the Orioles, figures to be a candidate for the job.
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has started calling around “in earnest” about possible GMs.
- If the Astros move to the American League, MLB will add an extra Wild Card team next year.
- Mets executives see Justin Turner as a utility player.
On this date in 1999, the Twins traded Scott Downs and Rick Aguilera to the Cubs for Kyle Lohse and Jason Ryan. Aguilera and Ryan ended their careers years ago, but Downs has a 0.84 ERA in 10 2/3 innings for the Angels this year while Lohse owns a 2.17 ERA in 66 1/3 innings for the Cardinals.
Here are Saturday's links, as Cliff Lee prepares to pitch against his former Rangers' teammates...
- Since joining the Red Sox, the club has learned that Adrian Gonzalez is a great mentor for their young Latin players, writes Peter Gammons of MLB.com.
- As Matt Eddy of Baseball America (via Twitter) points out, the Diamondbacks' release of Russell Branyan marks the end of his time with his tenth different club. He's had multiple stops in the same place as well as the Indians had and traded him four different times while the Brewers and the Mariners each had him twice.
- In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney says that any team interested in trading for Erik Bedard would have to convince themselves that he could find the same comfort zone on their team that he has with the Mariners.
- Seattle is "almost certainly in position to ask for a top prospect" for Bedard according to Olney, who has a 3.94 ERA in eight starts this year but remains an injury risk given all his shoulder trouble.
- Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez indicated that Javier Vazquez is not pitching for his job today, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Vazquez has a 7.55 ERA with more walks (24) than strikeouts (20) in 39 1/3 innings across eight starts this year, in part because his fastball velocity has disappeared.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post points out that the Yankees once drafted Mets' infielder Justin Turner, but he turned down a $200K offer as 29th round pick in 2005 and returned to school for his senior season. Turner signed with the Reds for $50K as a seventh round pick in 2006, then was traded to the Orioles in the Ryan Freel-Ramon Hernandez swap and was later claimed off waivers by the Mets. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI against the Yanks last night.
The Mets claimed infielder Justin Turner off waivers from the Orioles, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The O's had designated Turner for assignment on Friday to make room for Scott Moore. Connolly notes that Mets executive Wayne Krivsky drafted Turner as Reds GM back in '06.
Turner, 25, hit .300/.362/.388 in 441 Triple A plate appearances last year. He's failed to match that production in 95 PAs this year. Turner has mostly played second base this year, but he's also spent time at third base and shortstop.
Heading into the '09 season, Baseball America ranked Turner 27th among Orioles prospects after he came over in the Ramon Hernandez deal. BA wrote that Turner is a competitive "baseball rat" who has a shot at becoming a utility player in the bigs.