The Mets cut five players from their 40-Man Roster yesterday as they made the decision to non-tender and part ways with Scott Atchison, Omar Quintanilla, Jordany Valdespin, Jeremy Hefner and Justin Turner.
The decisions to cut ties with Hefner and Turner were the ones that stood out the most for me.
As Mike Kerwick described it, Hefner was enjoying the season of his life in 2013. He allowed three earned runs or fewer during 15 of his first 18 starts. His ERA was a respectable 3.33 and when he was handed a ticket to the big leagues, he was making good on his chance. Then he hurt his elbow and the 27-year-old is now looking for a new job.
Turner was a little less surprising, but unexpected nonetheless. The scrappy utility player has always played the part of a good solider and saved the Mets’ asses on more than a few occasion when players like Ike Davis and David Wright were lost to injuries. He ends his four-year Mets tenure with a slash line of .267/.326/.370 in 370 games played.
I asked some of our staff which player would be missed the most and who would get picked up by another team first.
Teddy K. – Hefner, he was a good guy, and a good pitcher. Happy Travels, Jeremy Hefner!
Xtreem – I’ll miss Hefner the most of the five. I don’t agree with letting him go. I think he and Quintanilla will find a new team pretty quick. Solid backup middle infielders can always find a job.
Stephanie S. – Turner will definitely be missed the most. Although to most fans he serves as a punching bag and a pie machine, he was the Mets’ only utility infielder who could be inserted at any position for a spot start and be fairly serviceable on both offense and defense. His glove will certainly be missed more than his bat, but that does not say too much considering he was clearly no more than a bench player. It was the correct move by the Mets to non-tender him, but his presence may be missed in a few situations.
As for other teams’ interests in our non-tendered players, Valdespin’s reputation as an egotistical, hotheaded PED user will certainly not attract any teams. Hefner is currently recovering from Tommy John, so we won’t see any action from him for this season (it is a possibility that the Mets will re-sign him come 2015, however). As for Turner’s fate, he may attract some attention from the Mariners; they are a team in need of making moves to have a hope in making a splash in 2014, and Turner’s utility in the infield and a serviceable bat off the bench in a clutch spot may interest them. It would be a nice little pickup, considering that aside from the rising rookie Nick Franklin, their infield is rather inconsistent and Turner could provide a nice little boost when needed. Omar Quintanilla may get picked up by the Pirates, who are possibly in the mix for a shortstop at some capability, but other than that, not much interest may be generated at the expense of how poor he performed at the plate when he was a regular starter. As for Atchison, the Astros have been rumored to be looking for bullpen help. Atchison could be an option for them if they are looking for short term help.
Tommy R. – Hefner. To call Quintanilla and Atchison “replaceable” would be an understatement, and with Valdespin’s lack of production and the fact that he cheated, I won’t miss him much. I would like to see them bring Turner back on a smaller contract, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find another utility infielder. However, Hefner was one of the best pitchers in baseball after the beginning of June, up until Tommy John Surgery ended his season. I was going to miss him this year before the non-tender, but didn’t expect him to be released. Hopefully they bring him back on a minor league deal…
Rob (Tie Dyed) – I will miss Valdespin the most. Although many viewed him (unfairly in my opinion) as not being a team player, he was exciting and fun to watch. He was a colorful player on a team that’s become very black and white. He was energetic and played with an enthusiasm that reminded me of Lenny Dykstra. I think, due to his intensity and desire to win at any costs, many of us will look back in a few years and say, “Wow, we really should have held on to him.”
John G. – I am personally going to miss Turner. Seemed like he played hard in the limited chances he was given. I am pretty sure that Hefner or Valdespin will be the first to be snatched up by another team but a curveball could be thrown and Atchison could go first since he is a serviceable reliever.
Andrew D. – The Mets will miss Turner the most because of his defensive versatility and clubhouse popularity. On a team as injury prone as the Mets, a player capable of playing all four infield positions is valuable. And on a team as bad as the Mets have been (and, sadly, may continue to be), a cheery clubhouse prankster can help the dog days of summer not feel so long.
However, Valdespin will be picked up by another team first because of his upside and toolsiness. If given a full season’s worth of at bats, Valdespin could hit 20+ home runs and steal 30 bases. He’s also played 5 MLB positions already, which makes him an appealing bench player, and he has the speed and arm to be a rangy outfielder. I don’t think he’ll ever amount to much, but if there’s one player of these 5 with a chance to really burn us long term, it’s Jordany.
Zack D. – Hefner. Of everyone non-tendered by the Mets so far, Jeremy Hefner has shown the most promise. He added a couple ticks to his fastball in 2013, which never hurts, and he looked like he had a better idea of how to attack hitters, displaying flashes of being a really solid back-of-the-rotation starter. I’m no good at predictions, but if I had to guess, Justin Turner will be the first to sign elsewhere. He’s healthy (unlike Hefner) and he has shown that he can hit a little and play just about anywhere.
Christina M. – I can’t imagine Hefner getting picked up right away, especially because of his injury. Atchison is a pretty solid relief pitcher, but he’s on the older side of 150 years old, so…. my guess is Turner gets picked up first. He beats out Q in talent and usefulness and beats out JV1 in the making-friends department by a country mile. He also didn’t get suspended for PEDs of any kind, which makes him shine significantly brighter in the talent department. Hefner, if he was healthy, would probably be the first to be snatched up, but he also might’ve not been non-tendered if he wasn’t injured for the year. Justin, redturn2, is going to be the first player off the free agency board. Of course, that’s just my two cents.
David C. – I will miss Justin Turner, I feel that he brought a lot to the team with being versatile and playing a variety of positions. The Mets need a bench player that can be put in when needed and he played that role better than any one else on the roster and he hit also.
Corey M. – I think the unanimous choice should be Justin Turner. He has all the characteristics that you look for in a bench player. He’s versatile, has a keen sense of the strike zone and his intangibles make everyone around him better.
Jimmy M. – I believe Turner will be the most missed due to his ability to play several positions and be a good bat off the bench. If the Mets make a trade involving Davis or Murphy for a corner outfielder then that would make Turner’s utility ability in the infield even more missed.
For these reasons I believe Turner will be the first picked up with a possibility of fighting for a starting job depending in the team. I could also see a team picking up Valdespin based on his potential with the right coaches to develop him (for his sake hopefully it is Miami so he can keep the hat he already has)
Matthew B. – Hefner. I understand about the injury and all, but he wasn’t arbitration eligible and he certainly had his moments. How much are they saving by cutting ties?
Ed (Rusty) – Hefner, because he has that Rick Reed “Everyman” kind of aura to him – easy to pull for even when he was rocked.
DrDooby – Don´t think anyone will really be missed. The Mets gave up on five players who basically performed at “replacement player” caliber levels in 2013 and who neither have the prospect pedigree or past performance to suggest a major rebound / breakout going forward.
Atchison has had the most success among major leaguers – but also has been pitching through torn elbow ligaments recently, the reason why he even was available in 2013 in the first place.
All five will find new teams pretty quickly – but all five will struggle to find a guaranteed major league deal in all likelihood, though a couple of them may, especially Turner & Valdespin who can play second and at least fake it at shortstop briefly and who could be serviceable backups for someone in 2014.
But in any case, moving on from these five was a sound decision at this point. Maybe a couple will return – but more as depth on the Las Vegas 51s roster than in any sort of plan for the Mets.
Jessep – Tough call between Hefner and Turner. They are the only ones who actually brought something to the table in my view. Atchison was good at times, but he’s a 38 year old reliever. With Hefner’s injury. the answer is probably Turner because he was a depth guy. He was the player who could fill in almost anywhere for any player outside of catcher. That’s a huge value if you ask me. I think he is the first one picked up, and for that very reason. Unless of course the Long Island Ducks call Valdespin first?