Mets Non-tender Turner, Hefner

In addition to non-tendering Jordany Valdespin, Omar Quintanilla, and Scott Atchison, the Mets also chose to not tender contracts to Justin Turner and Jeremy Hefner, making them free agents.

They did choose to keep Daniel Murphy, Dillon Gee, Ike Davis, Bobby Parnell, Eric Young, Jr., Ruben Tejada, and Lucas Duda, and thereby have 35 players on their 40-man roster.

Why would the Mets cut loose Hefner and Turner?

Personally, I’d take Turner and the sub-million-dollar contract he’ll earn in 2014 and plug him in as the starting second baseman, and cut loose Murphy and the nearly $6M he’ll likely earn through arbitration. But that’s me.

Of course, it’s not the end of the world to lose Turner, who is viewed by the Mets as a utilityman. I’m guessing they already have in place a deal for utility guy they think is better than Turner to take his place. Who — or Hu — I’m not sure, but it’s strange that they’d let go both Turner and Quintanilla without a plan in place. Maybe one of the two has already agreed to come back on a cheaper deal. If not, it’s really not a big deal. Considering all the holes the Mets have, they can’t be too concerned with dropping a couple of fringe bench players to open up spots on the 40-man roster for new ballplayers with more upside.

Which brings us to Hefner, who will miss most if not all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery. Before going down with the elbow injury, Hefner was a pleasant surprise, seemingly “putting it all together” after many years in the minors / as a AAAA guy. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Hefner to hog (see what I did there?) a precious 40-man roster spot this winter when he’s unable to pitch in 2014. I’m assuming that the Mets have spoken to Hefner and have a gentleman’s agreement to re-sign at some point in the near future, because, with the price of mediocre starting pitchers these days, and the relatively inexpensive cost of Hefner, it’s silly not to have him come back in 2015 to compete for a back-end rotation spot. Because the Mets do intend to field a team in 2015, yes? I haven’t heard anything about contraction …

By the way, Valdespin wasn’t even arbitration-eligible, so the Mets dropped him for no other reason than they’ve tired of his act; he’s essentially been outright released.

What’s your thought? Do you see any of these men returning to the Mets on lesser, perhaps minor-league, deals? Do you want any of them to return? Why or why not? Answer in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Eric December 3, 2013 at 1:59 am
    I’ve always been a Turner fan but his usefulness may have run out for this team. Josh Satin now becomes the back up corner infielder, and if they bring in another shortstop, then you have Tejada and or Flores backing up the middle infield. Flores can play the corners as well.

    As for Hefner, I don’t get this move. They could have placed him on the 60 day to free up a roster spot. A cheap, quality starting pitcher under team control, and they let him go? I guess they must think that by the time he’s ready to come back, Montero, Syndergaard, and guys like DeGrom, Mazzoni, Gorski, etc… will have supplanted him. But still, doesn’t make a lot of sense to make this move now, unless as you suggest, they have an understanding with him.

    • Joe Janish December 3, 2013 at 2:12 am
      With Omar Q. and Turner gone, I don’t see anyone in the Mets organization left that can capably backup shortstop (or start, for that matter) for a big-league team. But then, I don’t think very highly of Wilfredo Tovar. They must have someone else in mind.

      As for Hefner, I could be wrong but I don’t think a player can be placed on the 60-day DL until the season begins — which means Hefner would be taking a 40-man roster spot until April (or late March?). With that in mind, I understand why they’ve non-tendered him — assuming there’s an agreement to bring him back.

  2. DaMetsman in Washington State December 3, 2013 at 2:31 am
    Joe’s post covers it all pretty thoroughly. That being said… the non-tenders seem to re-enforce the fact that Josh Satin and Wilmer Flores will have to play themselves off the 25-man roster. But neither is as versatile as Justin Turner, who can play decently at all four infield position, including SS, which is a no-no for Satin and Turner. But the Mets do have some depth with Tejada, Tovar and Danny Muno, who is the sleeper of the bunch. Nonetheless, bring on Omar Infante. Then, Paul Maholm and sign John Lannan to a minor league deal. Lastly, trade Murphy and Tejada to the Dodgers for Joc Pederson, Dee Gordon and a good bullpen arm. Lets play ball!
  3. DaveSchneck December 3, 2013 at 3:49 am
    The Hefner move wreaks of penny pinching. The Mets don’t want to pay this guy $500K to rehab in 2014 to maintain control over him? On the surface this is very concerning. That roster spot is only an issue until later in the winter, if the sign some players, and even then they can DL him to open a spot. Very strange.
  4. Vilos December 3, 2013 at 8:39 am
    What I like most about this move is that it was unexpected. Nobody from the whole mets spectrum of media and blogs had a clue.
    Why is this good? At least two reasons. One, the FO can keep a secret (when it wants to) and two, moves become unpredictable, bringing back the magic of anything is posible (fans in essence never should lose hope, and most fans that post seem to have long ago).
    Best explanation? The bottom line seems to be, that they want room on the 40 man, either for rule 5 signings, recently nontendered FA or even maybe a bigname FA. With Hefner it seems reasonable for both to have an agreement. With Turner, if they tried to shop him then it seems that nobody was interested. Therefore he’ll probably sign a minor league contract with spring invite and where he lands will depend on where he has a better chance to play.
  5. DanB December 3, 2013 at 8:43 am
    I am beginning to really wonder how involved the bankers are in roster moves. It sounds crazy but if I am a banker renegotiating up to half a billion dollars of loans with the Wilpons, I would want input. I wonder if they are saying no long term contracts, no $100 million contracts. If the Mets sign Granderson orCruz, I’d feel better. But up to now, it feels like banker moves instead of baseball moves.
  6. Andrew Lloyd December 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm
    I reiterate my comment from a few days ago – Janish’s assessment of Murphy just demonstrates ignorance of baseball. You would outright Daniel Murphy? When the team needs offense???

    Keep your day job (unless this blog is your day job…).

    • izzy December 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm
      Maybe its not Janish who is the dope but it is rather , hmm, lets see…..its you. Maybe unlike a dope, Janish understands that if you want to win you need guys up the middle who can defend the position, who don’t have to be put in short right because they have no range. Maybe Janis understandsthe importance for a guy not making a bonehead play on the bases just about every game. Maybe Janish realizes that Murphy is not and never will be worth 6 times what a utility man is worth. And many people like his blog and his comments, whether serious or sarcastic, and maybe its you who need to stop doing this, or better yet, go post on Metsblog where many people have the same lack of knowledge of the game as you do.
      • Andrew Lloyd December 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm
        No, actually Janish – and you – are the dopes for sure. Sorry, man, but I’ve played baseball all my life, and I’ve watched a ton of Mets baseball – and outrighting Murphy is flat-out the dumbest thing I’ve heard this offseason.

        He is hardly a smooth defender, and he is no stranger to boneheaded plays. Would I prefer Robinson Cano at 2B? Yes, genius, I would.

        But Murphy is an excellent hitter, making him a rarity on the Mets. If a few things broke right, I could see Murph challenging for a batting title one year.

        I don’t read this blog that often because, even though I’m starved for Mets news, you have schmucks like yourself popping off like you have half a clue about baseball. Sure, run Murphy outta town while getting nothing in return – for an offense that did nothing last year.

        Rising apple.com is much better, so yes I will decamp for greener pastures, sir.

        • Joe Janish December 4, 2013 at 12:50 am
          Izzy, many thanks for defending my argument – you explained exactly how I feel about The Golden Boy.

          Andrew Lloyd, I don’t appreciate the name-calling, but since you’re new here in the comments section, and I have a thick skin, I’ll look past it. However, if you are going to criticize an opinion, we all would appreciate a supporting argument that goes beyond identifying us as “dopes.” Like, something tangible. Because this blog is about conversation, not name-calling.

          Further, I am curious: when you say you’ve played baseball your entire life, how many years is that? And what was/is your highest level of play? I always appreciate input from former / current players and like to know their backgrounds.

        • Andrew Lloyd December 4, 2013 at 10:44 am
          Hi Joe – sure.

          First, let me just point out that the “name-calling” was initiated by your pal, Izzy. I merely responded in kind – dopes is his word.

          I’m 43 and have not played any pro ball. Learned the game from my Dad practically as an infant, then t-ball, then little league, high school ball, and organized softball most of my post-college years. I play softball in NY 3 seasons a year, because I love it and am really good at it.

          But I am not an ex-pro player, scout, etc. So if you feel your credentials give you some kind of credibility in recommending ridiculous moves to the Mets, like cutting Murphy, go right ahead.

          We are all in agreement on defense up the middle being important – actually, I like good defense everywhere on the field. As it pertains to Murph, his main skill, aka making contact/hitting line drives/hitting for average outweigh his supposedly below average defense, and his undeniable lack of instincts.

          I actually think Murph is a better defender than people give him credit for, and I’ve heard Gary/Keith/Ron express that notion on the broadcast on more than one occasion. So, I like to think they’re in my camp on this one, and – I don’t know, but they seem to have some credibility. Again, if I worry about something re: Murph, it’s that he’ll do something stupid someday in a pivotal playoff game. If he ever sniffs one in a Mets uniform.

          So all this to say, I respect what you do with this blog but you’re just wrong on the Murph question. The Mets as currently constructed badly need him on the team and performing like he’s capable of doing. They can more than live with his defense while they address the real problems on the team.

        • Joe Janish December 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm
          I apologize — Izzy did initiate the name-calling. But your calling me ignorant of baseball, and telling me to “keep my day job,” were personal attacks, which, along with name-calling, are not what we do here. So, my bad for misidentifying, but your bad for instigating.

          No need to get defensive about your credentials vs. mine. I didn’t ask about your background for the purpose of putting you down — I asked because, again, I am genuinely interested in the people who take time out of their day to share thoughts here. If you’ve been visiting this blog for any length of time, you know that I am fairly active in the conversation here. Further, I’ve already laid out who I am, what I’ve done and do, and feel it’s fair to know whether I’m conversing with a 13-year-old wiffle-ball player or a 43-year-old softball player.

          As for Murphy, we’ll have to agree to disagree on a few points. I value defense much more than others, and I don’t think Murphy’s defensive performance is underrated by any stretch. Though they often offer negative comments about Mets players, ultimately, GKR are paid by the Mets to say good things about the team. They also see Murphy on a regular basis and are friends with him, and if I had that kind of access/relationship with him, I’d likely also cut him some slack and defend him. But I have the luxury of watching him play on TV from the comfort of my home, with no personal ties, and from my perspective, Murphy doesn’t hit enough to make up for his defense, lack of fundamentals, baserunning mistakes, and frequent brain freezes.

          He might very well win a batting title one day, and in my opinion, he has to hit at least .330 to be worth the negatives. When/if that day comes, I might change my opinion. But as of now, and from what I’ve seen, Murphy’s best role on a championship club is as a super-sub, not as a starting second baseman.

        • Andrew Lloyd December 6, 2013 at 2:57 am
          Well, to really get right down to it – I originally commented on another thread because you referred to Murphy as “Mets garbage.” I think it’s pretty nasty the way journalists (and bloggers) talk about athletes sometimes, like they’re pieces of meat or something. So I applaud you for wanting to run a reasonable blog, but you’re setting the wrong tone by calling other human beings “garbage.” I think that’s what really incensed me – otherwise, I’ve been a casual checker of the blog for some time now. Never reacted until I saw that.

          Added to which, yes, we disagree on Murph. I just think the notion that he’s a below average defender defies what I saw with my own eyes watching him play. Dan Uggla, for example, is a far worse defender (not saying much really, but still).

          Hitting .330 is not a realistic standard for any everyday player – that’s elite of the elite level performance. That’s batting title.

          Anyway, I’m not his agent, or his buddy, and I won’t be heartbroken if he’s traded – just expressing some displeasure with your reference to him as garbage and your (utterly incorrect 🙂 assessment of his value.

          -Andrew

        • Joe Janish December 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm
          Andrew, I never said Dan Murphy the human being was “garbage” — I was referring to this baseball skill. That’s a huge difference. These guys are making more money in a month than most people make in ten years — part of what comes with that salary is being on a big stage, in front of the world, open to criticism (as well as applause). If we didn’t judge their performance, what would we do? Just sit around silently? No clapping, no standing ovations, no blogging, no reporting, no keeping of stats? When we do these things, we’re not judging the human beings, we’re judging their performance as baseball players — that’s it.

          You’re being overly sensitive to my choice of language and modifiers. I’m not going to feel bad about comparing Murphy’s baseball skill set to garbage, any more than I’m going to feel bad about comparing another ballplayer’s skills to gold — it’s part of what I do here, and rarely do I criticize/laud a player for something other than what’s happening on the field.

          And for what it’s worth, I’m often directly told on this blog that I’m “garbage” (or much worse) due to my writing and/or opinion — you think I lose sleep over it? It may not be polite but it’s part of the deal when one writes a blog and puts himself/herself out there, and I accept it. And I don’t even get paid millions of dollars to experience it.

  7. argonbunnies December 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm
    Unless this tweet from Kerwick is misrepresenting things, there is no deal to bring back Hefner. “Will share his thoughts after he finds a new team,” sounds ugly. How can the Mets hope to attract players if they treat theirs this way?
  8. izzy December 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm
    Now that I’m back to being my miserable Alderson hating self, (thank you Andrew) I say Turner was a mistake. a utility guy who can play the entire infield and get a hit now and then has value to a team, allowing it to platoon elsewjhere if needed knowing if something happens you have a guy who can fill in anywhere. Satin, can’t do SS neither can Flores. Plus, like the Nats did with Lombardozzi he can help you complete a trade. Hefner is in a tough spot. Best he can get is minor league deal, bbut if he can’t pitch in 2014 who will even give him that as he’ll just be a minor league FA at the end of the year. And Valdespin,shows what a dud alderson is…did alderson really think he could tradehim????? Did he thinks other GMs were too stupid to know he’d be released eventually.
  9. Sach25 December 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm
    I concur with JJ. I don’t understand why Turner was deleted. The guy can fill in at 3 inf. pos. credibly inc. SS plus is a decent, exp. PH bat off the bench, a role you really don’t want a rookie to fill. Sandy can’t even bring in 1 new SS now he needs 2 of them. I’m surprised Lutz and Kirk- 2 guys with no future on the Mets weren’t deleted.
  10. Andrew Lloyd December 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm
    For what it’s worth – I agree (even with Izzy) on the Turner issue. The guy played all 4 positions, could’ve played OF in a pinch, and got plenty of big hits.

    Don’t understand it whatsoever.

    • Joe Janish December 4, 2013 at 12:51 am
      So, you agree with a couple of “dopes” on an issue?
      • NormE December 4, 2013 at 9:12 am
        Sorry Joe, I can’t resist: Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.
  11. Colin December 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm
    Hef was amazing around the all star break and did seem like he put it all together. I hope we pick him back up in 2015.