Mack Ade – Justin Turner – The Mets Future Leftfielder?


Mack Ade – Justin Turner – The Mets Future Leftfielder?

Terry Collins made a passing remark last month that just may reposition the Mets primary utility infielder into the outfield for 2013.

Justin Turner has been the perfect Met, especially in both the dugout and the clubhouse. If someone is doing something well on this team, hang around because turner will be there soon with a plate full of whipped cream. His production was down near the end of the season (August: .222, September: .214); however, he still finished the season with a respectful stat line: .269/.319/.392/.711.

Turner’s arrival in Queens had some bumps. He was originally drafted by the Yankees in 2005 (29th round), but chose not to sign and returned to Cal State Fullerton as a senior. This was followed a year later with a 7th round pick by Cincinnati plus a $50,000 bonus offer. He played three years in the Red chain but, in December 2008, was traded with UT Ryan Freel and IF Brandon Waring to Baltimore for catcher Ramon Hernandez

Turner had a wonderful year in 2009 playing second base for the Orioles  AAA affiliate, Norfolk (387AB, .300/.362/.388/.749), but he simply never got a real shot for the parent team (18-AB in 2009, 9-AB in 2010). He was release in 2010 and the Mets claimed him off waivers and assigned him to AAA-Buffalo.

Once again, he proved his ability at the AAA level, going:  .333/.390/.516/.906 in 312-AB. He was then named in 2011 as one of the utility infielder of the Mets; however, due to injuries to both David Wright (3B) and Daniel Murphy (2B) managed to carve out 435-AB, hitting .260/.334/.356/.690. Turner was named the NL Rookie of the Month for May 2011. He is the first Met to win the award since its creation in 2001.

 Turner is a right-handed hitter; however, his splits over the past three seasons (2010-2012) are only .230 against lefties but .271 vs. righties.  His role in 2012 was greatly diminished without any formal explanation by either Collins or Sandy Alderson. Most write it off to his returning to a primary utility role, while others have questioned the projected longevity of his future role.

Obviously, his .188/.241/.288/.529 stat line in winter ball isn’t doing him any good, but don’t count the biggest Mets fan out yet. I contacted him via Twitter and he responded back within an hour:

Mack Ade @JohnMackinAde     29 Dec - @redturn2 - writing a feature on you... turning you into the Mets LFer in 2013...

              Justin Turner @redturn2 - @JohnMackinAde i'll do anything to get in the lineup everyday

That’s the Justin Turner we all know and love and my money is on him come the spring.


TheCloser said...

I wonder if they gave Zach Lutz an outfielders glove this winter? He might not be a bad internal option either. He's always been a solid hitter, but had foot injuries. I don't seem him getting any time at 3B or 1B, so why not see what he can do in the outfield come March. Can't possibly be any worse than Daniel Murphy right? lol

vtmet said...

If Turner and/or Lutz can play the OF at a semi-respectable. then it makes sense to give them playing time in the OF...

the most likely starting OFers are all Lefty hitters, and there really isn't much opportunities for the backup infielders in the IF...

Having utility guys that can play both the IF and OF helps with how many pitchers that teams carry anymore...

Charles said...

If Justin is the outfielder, that's horrible.

I don't mind at all the team using '13 as a rebuild year. So, to put JT in LF would be a horrible move. Why not just keep Duda in all the time, see what he puts up with 550 at bats and put Valdespine in RF. If they truly will have cash to spend in '14, then you need to know what these guys value is to the team moving forward.

Likewise, give Kirk CF and give him 550 ABs. One of these three will prove then self. Then, with the infield and pitching staffs set, you can use the 50+ million in '14 to seriously fill whatever holes the team has offensively.

My worry, is that in '14, they'll still hold that cash and say the FA's are overpriced, and try sell to the fans on waiting for guys like Nimmo.

To me, you need to put the young guys in and see where everything shakes out.

Mack Ade said...


The sad part is Lutz has been on the team for years and they could have easily tried to do this any one of the off-seasons

Charles said...

Just to be clear, I'm not saying AT ALL, that JT is a bad player. I love him and hope he remains with the team when they actually turn the corner. He's invaluable to the Mets. He plays every infield position well, could probably shag some balls in the outfield, and really works his ABs better then most of the other players. That Heath Bell AB last year was unbelievable and really shows what a weapon he could be.

If the Mets ever let him go, I could see Brian Sabean from the Giants grabbing him instantly. Great clubhouse guy who'd fit in perfectly on that team. I just think JT is best served as a super utility guy for the Mets.

Lets the kids take the wheel and see where they take you... It worked in Oakland last year.

Mack Ade said...

(glad you cleared that up... he's a reader :)

enyherb said...

Turner should certainly be on the opening day roster, no doubt, but not as a starting outfielder. He's a great guy to have on the bench, a positive influence in the clubhouse. To add to his versatility, it wouldn't hurt to have him take some fly balls in practice and maybe play some outfield in ST, but until he proves he can handle the glove out there, I wouldn't insert him in regular season games.

I continue to believe that Sandy will sign Hairston when the time is ripe. His patience will be rewarded. Sizemore, on a low risk deal with a 2014 option, ready to play in July when we might be able to move an outfielder (Hairston, this time?) at the deadline, would be an excellent move. Also Nyjer Morgan on a minor league contract with a ST invite, could be a smart move.

I also believe that Sandy has one more trade up his sleeve, maybe a big one. My calculation of current payroll matches yours, Mack, at about $75 million. (Although, if Santana's buy out has to be included in 2013 payroll, it brings us to $80 million.) That still leaves Sandy with enough wiggle room to acquire an outfielder like Crisp and still have $$$ to fill out the roster. One trade. We've identified several outstanding acquisition targets, some of whom I could get very excited about, and most of whom would not add greatly to the payroll. One nice trade, and then we could all exhale.

Mack Ade said...


As I've pointed out earlier, the "in search of..." series pointed out one glaring fact... there are a lot of every day outfielders on these teams that are going to be DFA'd before the season starts.

THIS is where Sandy Alderson will find the future 2013 Mets outfield.

enyherb said...

Hey Mack, workin' New Year's Day. I'm impressed. Glad to see you. But I don't understand. If the purpose of the series is to point out the numerous outfielders that may be DFA'd why are we scouring every roster and selecting many as trade candidates who their teams will not likely part with? If you believe that Sandy will find his 2013 outfield from among DFA's, you should be looking at every 40 man roster, IDing players who are out of options and/or at the bottom of theier outfield group, and targeting them.

I personaly don't think that's necessarily where our outfield will be found this year. Sure, if a quality outfielder is DFA'd, I'd hope Sandy would pick him up, but unless he is a real find, he probably won't be a starter. As I said above, there's plenty of time to sign one or more of the remaining FA outfielders as well as to pull off a trade. I'm hoping to see a final outfield something like this:

LF: Duda/Hairston
CF: Trade Target - Crisp, Pollock, Bonifacio, Young Jr., De Aza, etc.
RF: Nieuwenhuis/Cowgill

Am I a dreamer?

Mack Ade said...


I don't know... I'm just going to finish the series up

enyherb said...


I'm glad you are. Not only am I enjoying the analyses, but it has enabled me to find some trade candidates that I otherwise would have overlooked. I hadn't even thought about Jerry Sands, for example, and in my zeal for Adam Eaton, I didn't think to consider A.J. Pollock as a second possibility. Likewise, my focus on Leonys Martin during the Dickey trade talks led me to overlook Craig Gentry as a possibility. So, thanks for the series.

Maybe when you've finished the first look at all the teams, we should go back over the lists and consider who might be DFA candidates down the road.

Mack Ade said...


Re DFA Candidates

Sounds like something YOU should do as a writer here on the site.

Any desire to write for us?

enyherb said...

Thanks for the thought. Interesting. I need more information. What is involved? Is it a volunteer thing? Is there any compensation besides the honor and the pride of seeing ones words in print? (BTW, I have had a letter to the editor published in the New York Times recently.) Does one need to produce a specific number of articles in a set time, or is it whenever? Just askin'.

Mack Ade said...

First think... we probably need to talk about this either on the phone (843 683 0375) or via email (macksmets@gmail.com).

The process is easy... I invite you into the site... you pick the name you want to write under, write your post and click on "save".

You will then email me when you are done and I will schedule it (and post pics if you haven't already done so.

There's no money in all this. I'm paid nothing either.

Specifics have varied from one guy (David Groveman) posting 5x a week, to most guys just randomly posting when they have something to say.

I never screen what you write and only ask that it is professionally written. I ask that the players aren't personally attacked, especially the kids in the minors.

LASTLY, I need the relief. My life would work so much better if I could fine 4-6 of you guys that could post a minimum of once a week.

If you want to give it a try, email me when we;ll give it a shot.


Mack's Mets © 2012