Let the free agent spending frenzy begin! All of the wannabe GM’s are already off to the races, spending Steve Cohen’s money. And, of course, there has been a clamoring for Cohen to turn a New York Yankee into a member of the New York Mets – that Yankee being Aaron Judge.
Judge had a monster year, a season for the ages. He broke the Yankees and American League single season home run record, erasing Roger Maris’ magical number 61, while making a run at the Triple Crown. It’s understandable why fans would want to add Judge to the Mets lineup. He is a super talent, and a great teammate with a tremendous work ethic and endearing demeanor.
But while Judge would surely add so much to any club he joined…the real free agent prize for the Mets would be Trea Turner.
Trea Turner can help the New York Mets instead of continuing to hurt them
Turner has spent eight seasons being a thorn in the side of the Mets, so getting him in the Mets dugout would lessen the damage he does against them. But it’s a whole lot more than just not seeing him in the opposing dugout. Turner is truly the best athlete available on the open market, and maybe even the best in the Major Leagues.
Turner is coming off a “walk” year in which he hit .298 with 21 home runs and 100 runs batted in. He brings an element of speed to a lineup that the Mets just don’t have, as he swiped 27 out of 30 bases. He’s a career .302 hitter with an average of over 30 stolen bases in his seven full seasons.
Turner is a shortstop. The Mets don’t need a shortstop. They have Francisco Lindor and they’ve got him for a long time. The Mets don’t need a second baseman. They have Jeff McNeil who just won the National League batting title. And, yes, McNeil can play other positions, including the corner outfield spots. But his best position IS second base. The Mets don’t need a third baseman either. And not because they have Eduardo Escobar, but because they have Brett Beatty who should be ready next season. And they also have Mark Vientos right behind him.
But what Turner CAN be is the next Mets leadoff hitter and centerfielder. The Mets tried to convert a middle infielder to centerfield once before – Juan Samuel. The All Star second baseman had never played the position until he arrived in Queens and failed miserably. But Turner started 44 games in centerfield for the Washington Nationals in 2016 and played it well. It’s been a while but, at 29 years old, he still has the explosive speed and arm strength to play a pretty damn good centerfield.
He wouldn’t be the first star middle infielder to successfully move to centerfield. Brewers Hall of Famer Robin Yount, who amazingly had similar stats to Turner, became an All Star outfielder after being an All Star shortstop. More recently, another Hall of Famer, the Astros Craig Biggio, did the same. He spent time in centerfield between stints at second base, after moving out from behind the plate.
Let everyone else clamor for Aaron Judge. Let another team break the bank for the guy who had a record-breaking year. It’s not that he doesn’t deserve it. He certainly does. But Trea Turner would be the best fit for the New York Mets. Compare what the two could bring to the club…and you be the judge.