How About Justin Turner For the Dodger Bench?

December 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Justin Turner | Leave a comment
That's a weird name font, Mets. (via)

That’s a weird name font, Mets. (via)

It’s well-known that the Dodgers need to rebuild their bench after the departures of Nick Punto (to Oakland), Skip Schumaker (to Cincinnati), and Jerry Hairston & Michael Young (to the glue factory, probably). Most importantly, they need a multipositional infielder who can handle second and short, lest we be subjected to Brendan Harris or Dee Gordon or Justin Sellers, since Hanley Ramirez & Alexander Guerrero both come with question marks.

One such fit, a player who I believe the Dodgers may have made contact with already, is Los Angeles native Justin Turner, who was somewhat surprisingly non-tendered by the Mets last week. Turner turned 29 last month and was a seventh-round pick of the Reds in 2006, eventually being traded to the Orioles (for Ramon Hernandez!) in 2008, but he’s spent the bulk of his career with New York.

Turner was expected to be tendered by the Mets, but it didn’t happen after an injury-plagued year, and so he’s free after parts of five years and just under 1,000 major league plate appearances. Over that time he’s got a 93 wRC+ and a .684 OPS, making him somewhat below league-average, but he’s made starts at second (88), third (50), short (21), and first (17), which is pretty nice versatility. That said, DRS (-21) and UZR/150 (-21.5) both hate him at second, which is where he’s seen the most action, so it’s hard to call him a plus glove.

In his favor, aside from the fact that he’s a local and not a total zero with the bat (and, according to Twitter, his wife may be good friends with a Dodger front office staffer) is that he’s gained a reputation as a clubhouse prankster along the way. That won’t help put runs on the board, but you know how much Ned Colletti likes “good clubhouse guys,” right? He’d also presumably come extremely cheaply, since he was only projected to make about $800k in arbitration, and the Mets didn’t even want to pay him that.

Anyway, the Dodgers clearly have a need for a guy like this, even if he’s not all that exciting. Maybe it amounts to nothing, but let’s be honest: if it’s not Turner, it’s going to be someone exactly like him.


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