As quiet as the New York Mets rumors have been, we need to remember it takes both the button and the buttonhole to keep a shirt closed. Even the most stable of buttons won’t stay shut if the hole is torn or the agent of a major league free agent lets information leak.
In either case, Mets rumors of them meeting with Justin Turner’s camp on Friday are a delight.
This isn’t so much because of the romantic story of coming back to Queens. That’s extra. The Turner meeting is good for the Mets because he’ll solve two of their biggest roster questions in one swoop.
No position player makes more sense for the Mets to sign right now than Justin Turner
The Ronny Mauricio injury has completely flipped the plan for what the Mets need at the DH spot. Rather than sign a power-hitting outfielder to take on the bulk of the at-bats, it’s Turner who seems to fit in nicely.
Among available free agent third basemen, we have guys in a class where they’re just not as good as Brett Baty. Then there are those who wouldn’t want to share. And finally we have a few who are clearly better. Turner doesn’t fall into any of these labels.
After 963 games at third base in his career, the Boston Red Sox allowed him only 7 more in 2023. Boston used the veteran 98 times as the DH. He appeared in another 41 games at first base. Turner saw action during 10 games as the second baseman, too. The process of moving away as an everyday fielder had already begun. In his last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Turner played 66 games at third base and another 62 as the DH.
For the Mets, the split would be entirely different. Once a week at first base. Another one or two starts a week at third base. Let him DH the rest of the time. This is what gives the Mets the best lineup they can possibly have. It does bump Mark Vientos into a state of mostly nothingness. Even without Turner in the picture, Vientos is stranded.
Turner hit .276/.345/.455 last season in Boston with 31 doubles, 23 home runs, and 96 RBI. He is slowing down, but not at a level where he’s unplayable.
As preferable as it would be for the Mets to not have to rely on any one player for the DH spot, this is the corner they’re now stuck in. They need an everyday hitter who can also save the third base position, at least from an offensive standpoint. Turner is the only reasonable choice.