Justin Turner Rumors
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.