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Justin Turner And Fallacy Of He Wouldn’t Have Done It With Mets

The Los Angeles Dodgers were staring down a 2-1 series deficit with Max Scherzer set to take the mound in Game 4. With Patrick Corbin on the mound, the Dodgers were in serious trouble. That’s when they put together a huge two out rally capped off by a Justin Turner homer effectively putting the game out of reach:

This was just the latest big hit from Turner. In his postseason career, he is hitting .316/.414/.518. That includes him being named the 2017 NLCS co-MVP. What is interesting is that wasn’t his best postseason series. In fact, his best postseason series was the 2015 NLDS against the Mets where he hit .526/.550/.842.

When we see the success of players like Turner, Collin McHugh, Hansel Robles, and others, it presents an opportunity to look at the Mets decision making process. We should be looking at why the Mets kept players who did not produce at all over them. We should be asking why these players found success at these levels away from the Mets that they did not here.

Instead, we see the oddest position emerge. Instead of an analysis, we see something akin to good for these players, and that these players could not have had that success here. For some reason, that is offered as a defense of the Mets and not a condemnation.

We can dig deeper into each player and see why they did or did not succeed. With McHugh, he’s with the Astros organization who have found a way of working with pitchers in terms of sequencing and grips to get the most of of pitchers. Robles was really just a matter of a team being more judicious in their use of him.

As for Turner, this was the beginning of a process which began with his working with Marlon Byrd during the 2013 season. Rather than see where that could lead, the Mets non-tendered him over what was $1 million. Turner would go off to the Dodgers where he’s been a very good player.

Even if Turner would not have had the opportunity to play and prove himself in 2014, he would have in 2015 when David Wright succumbed to spinal stenosis. However, that is besides the point. The point is Turner would have at least been a good utility player who still had upside even if he couldn’t play everyday.

That also overlooks the core problem here. The Mets have had an ability to find talented players, and they have found a way to develop that talent. What they haven’t done is find a way to be patient with that talent, and eventually they make penny wise pound foolish decisions. As the case with Travis d’Arnaud, we’ve seen rage cutting decisions.

In the end, saying a player could not have succeeded with the Mets is far from a defense of the team. Rather, it is perhaps the harshest criticism you could levy upon the team.

7 thoughts on “Justin Turner And Fallacy Of He Wouldn’t Have Done It With Mets”

  1. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Nobody offered Turner a major league deal after Mets non-tendered him.

    The Dodgers just got lucky, signing him, February 6, 2014 to minor league deal with spring invite.

    Colin McHugh benefited from the Astros innovation at the time. That innovation is now common place across the majors.

    Mchugh has since lost his starting job, and pitch to 4.70 ERA in 2019. He’s lifetime .3.95 ERA, at 32 years old.

    He’s free agent this offseason and I think someone Mets should pursue for reunion. He’s very smart, cerebral pitcher who would fit well with the likes of Degrom and Lugo who are similarly smart in mixing it up, adding and subtracting.

    As for the likes of d’Arnaud and Robles, and others like Turner and McHugh, you’re reading far too much into this being a Mets problem. These things happen all across the majors. Sometimes players develop elsewhere. Sometimes they don’t. New York is tough place to play. Can’t keep everyone just in case they develop down the road.

    The Mets too have benefited from player acquisitions cast off from others. RA Dickey, Addisoon Reed, JD Davis are but a few.

    A good portion of the current core are homegrowns.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s not reading too much into a problem. It’s acknowledging one exists and wondering why it does.

      Also, we can’t explain away everything with New York is a tough place to play. It’s too convenient an excuse.

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    If Mets had problem developing players I might agree – we just can’t expect every young player who wears a Mets uni to succeed, or continue wearing the uniform until the player does, if at all. It’s not realistic. There are only so many 25 and 40-man spots, and only so many option years. At some point, under-performing players, or those without spots, or those with mediocre performance end up on other teams or out of the game. Other teams do same.

    McHugh was traded to Rockies. Rockies eventually traded him to Houston.

    Mets DFA’d TdA. Dodgers claimed him and a week or so later decided they had no spot for him and traded him to the Rays who had several injured catchers and needed someone with experience to catch.

    Regarding Turner, I did indeed think it was stupid for Alderson to DFA – not because I foresaw All star – but because he was great teammate and solid infield utility.

    I doubt you’re crying right now over Plawecki, Matt Reynolds, Philiip Evans, Tyler Pill, Josh Edgin, Tobi Stoner, Erik Goeddel, etc.

    d’Arnaud is now 30. he had solid season, .782 OPS.

    Still not so good defensively.

    And 25 of his 92 games were at first base or DH.

    He’s batting .125 this postseason, two key K’s in the two AB’s I saw.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Few points:

      1. Other teams missing on a player on waivers doesn’t excuse the Mets from misjudging their own player.

      2. Correctly DFAing one guy doesn’t excuse completely messing up on another.

      3. TdA has been and continues to be a very good defensive catcher.

  3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Good writeup.

    It would be interesting to see a systematic analysis of players who left the Mets and succeeded (or failed) elsewhere, why they did, how they did, what it took, and of players who came to the Mets and whether they over- or underperformed, with all of that compared with other MLB teams for context. It’s too big a project for any one analyst but that’s the kind of running audit every FO in the majors should be doing to see if it’s getting the most out of its people.

    Speaking of Plawecki, he had an off year and was still almost a bWAR better than the combination of Nido and Rivera. Dealing away a solid backup at a position most teams are struggling to fill was the kind of counterproductive move that’s hugely costly for teams close to the postseason, who project to win about 85 games. In that range every game matters, but the Mets went cheap on their backup C, they went cheap on their spare CFer… They just don’t seem to understand what marginal wins are. It’s one thing to try to get to 80 wins so you can fill your stadium by pretending to be playing meaningful games as of the start of September, but it’s another entirely to put together at true talent 85 win team every three years and fail to give yourself every chance to add a few more wins and make the postseason.

    If the Mets couldn’t get actual talent for Plaw they should have kept him. It’s funny, sort of, that in under a year the Mets dumped the two catchers they thought were their starting tandem in 2018 for just about nothing–for a negative cost, actually, of about $3m.

    Btw, we can add Swarzak, Jay Bruce, Keon Broxton, Wilmer Font, Wilmer Flores, and Hechevarria to the list of guys who left the Mets since the end of the 2018 season and improved for other teams. Font, given the difference in leagues, improved by almost 3 runs per 9 by FIP after he left the Mets for Toronto, when the Mets were dying for bullpen arms. That’s… appalling.

    Font, 2019, FIP:
    Rays: 3.57
    Mets: 6.47
    Blue Jays: 3.75

    It’s not hard to find bad minor moves they made at the margins that if they avoided would have let the Mets into the postseason in 2019. What a shame.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Font is a great example how this has continued into the current regime

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        Is it fair to expand the survey to include minor leaguers with projectable histories? Tyler Bashlor was a strikeout artist with wobbly control who excelled at keeping the ball in the park. He gets to the majors and his strikeouts drop from 12k to 7k/9 while he gives up 5 times as many HR. I wasn’t expecting Bashlor to turn into Craig Kimbrel, but Bash had a good enough minor league record with 2 extremely valuable skills that he should have been at least replacement level. Instead his FIP in 2018 is 5.44, then 7.26 in 2019. SSS caveats apply, but it would be interesting to control for moving to the majors and see if there are common factors when Mets minor league pitchers falter–do their HR jump? Do their BB rates blow up? Do they lose the ability to K guys? If there’s a trend among a dozen guys in 2018 and 2019 it might suggest something wrong with how they were being taught when they got to the majors.

        I still don’t get how a guy like Bashlor can’t K enough guys to keep his FIP under 5.00. He had enough stuff that he shouldn’t have been a marginal guy. He should be having a tolerable career. Not great, but at least replacement level, and probably better.

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