Tonight Justin Turner stands on the biggest stage in the baseball world, as he participates in Game 1 of the Fall Classic. ‘Participate’ isn’t a strong enough word for Turner though. What he has done for the Los Angeles Dodgers since joining them in 2014 is nothing short of amazing.
Turner has batted .303/.378/.502 with 71 home runs, 264 RBI, and an 18.9 WAR in 834 games for the Dodgers from 2014-2017. That is quite a contrast to his .265/.326/.370 slash line, eight home runs, 86 RBI, and 0.9 WAR in 301 games with the Mets from 2010-2013.
Many people question Sandy Alderson’s decision to let him go and the reasons behind it. You can’t fault Alderson for not seeing Turner’s MVP-caliber production. After all, how many people actually expected this? What many people do rightfully fault him for however, is releasing a player who was valuable off the bench and did not cost much at all.
There have been a few reasons for Turner’s release, but a new one was brought up a week ago. He was encouraged to work out with the Mets strength and conditioning consultant Mike Barwis. Turner did not go and was non-tendered about a week later.
“They wanted me to pay for workouts,” Turner said according to Newsday. “I wanted to hit with my guy.”
Turner was already committed to working out with a hitting instructor in his native Southern California named Doug Latta.
Alderson denied the fact that this had anything to do with him being non-tendered.
“First I’ve heard that explanation,” Alderson said. “There was never a Turner issue with Barwis.”
Alderson remains committed to the fact that Turner was non-tendered from the Mets due to baseball reasons alone. He mentioned the fact that the Dodgers didn’t give him a major league contract in 2014 which was a reminder that Turner’s current value was not yet cemented. At the same time he wishes nothing but the best for a player he considers a good guy.
“Even L.A. didn’t offer him a major league contract,” Alderson said. “But he has done exceedingly well and I am happy for him. Despite what you may think, we don’t sit around hoping all former Mets do poorly when they move on. There are good guys and bad guys. He was a good guy.”