Justin Turner Cut for Playing Like Robinson Cano

According to a source inside the organization, and reported by Adam Rubin at ESPN Mets Blog, Justin Turner was non-tendered because his “… propensity for not running hard irked the front office.”

Um … what?

Maybe I slacked off in my observation of Mets games this year, because I don’t recall Turner lacking hustle. Perhaps he did, and I simply missed it. If so, OK, shame on me. But, I can say — without question — that if Turner didn’t run out a few balls, he wasn’t the only Met guilty of such a crime.

At the same time, I would say that lack of hustle was NOT a rampant problem for the 2013 Mets. The one thing that most of the players did was play hard — they were motivated to do so, considering most of them were playing for a job. I do specifically remember Turner dealing with the intercostal strain, but can’t remember if he was showing a lack of hustle at that time. Maybe he was coasting in September, when I completely lost interest in watching and, admittedly, was not blogging as hard as I should’ve been.

So help me out — what did I miss? Was Turner not hustling? If so, when? And was it a chronic issue? I hate when I miss stuff like this.

Further, did you notice anyone else on the club who was not playing hard? Did they deserve a similar fate? And could lack of hustle be the reason the Mets didn’t make an offer to Robinson Cano?

Sound off 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. Joe Bourgeois December 10, 2013 at 5:59 am
    Yes, lack of hustle is why the Mets did not offer a contract to Cano.

    It is also why, during the dinner with Cano and his agents, Jeff Wilpon pointed at Cano’s salad and said, “Are you eating that?”

  2. izzy December 10, 2013 at 6:33 am
    One thing very consistent about the Met management. They cannot cut ties with a player without trashing him as much as possible. A truly classless rganization led by a truly classless owner.
  3. harry December 10, 2013 at 6:51 am
    I think the Mets fabricated this report to avoid the potential of paying a reserve player close to a million. It was management spinning bad pr to justify their actions. It’s the oldest ploy in the book.
  4. NormE December 10, 2013 at 8:26 am
    The usual Mets b.s.
    If Alderson has any class he would publicly disavow the rumor. Turner was cut because of penny-pinching.
  5. crozier December 10, 2013 at 11:34 am
    Since I’m not a daily Mets watcher, I can’t give an objective view. As to my impression of Turner, though, I definitely put him in the “hustle” category, for all that’s worth. I also lack the insider knowledge to understand why Turner wasn’t a viable trade chip over someone else.

    But what’s depressing about the source’s comment, if true, is that it suggests (screams, actually) that the club is weighed down by old school executive thinking. If Turner in aggregate was no longer considered a valuable piece of the organization, there’s no way it came down to whether or not he ran out every ground ball. The reality is that he’s an average player – neither great defensively nor particularly skilled in getting on base – who can be replaced for less money. That assessment could also be made of a few other Mets on the 40-man roster.

  6. DanB December 10, 2013 at 11:35 am
    Turner was a salary dump. Trading Murphy would be a salary dump. Even trading Davis is a salary dump. Will the players replacing Turner, Murphy, and Davis be better? No, they will be cheaper.
  7. DanS December 10, 2013 at 11:43 am
    A pathetic comment from a pathetic organization. I watched far more Mets games than I should have in 2013 and Turner was one guy who definitely gave it all he had. I’ve been a Mets fan since the begin and I can’t figure out how we go from one pathetic owner to another.
  8. DaveSchneck December 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm
    Outside of the JV1 pie, I do think Turner lost a step in his dugout dash. He also messed up one of Kevin Burkhart’s SNY shirts, which probably was the final straw.
    • crozier December 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm
      There it is. What no one else is willing to admit:

      Turner was cut to save money on shaving cream supplies.

  9. argonbunnies December 10, 2013 at 3:37 pm
    I wouldn’t say Turner impressed me with his hustle, but the thing is, he’s not that fast and doesn’t really have an extra gear. He ran about as hard as he could run most of the time. When a play wasn’t close — say, a double that had no chance of being a triple — he might jog out the final stretch. But almost everyone does that. Of all the Mets who annoyed me by not running hard at times, Turner was not one of them.

    Turner did seem to be positive, upbeat, and light-hearted at most times. So perhaps someone with the Mets saw him smiling during some losses, and from that determined that Justin lacks the fire to win. “Lack of fire” was then expressed to Rubin in a defensive moment as “lack of hustle”. That’s the best I can come up with that has any connection to reality.

    Honestly, given the team’s underdog status, it wouldn’t surprise me if management wants to instill some ultra-intense vibe. Turner doesn’t it with that. Of course, few human beings are capable of that, nor should they even try, for a 182-game season. If dumping Turner is a message to have less fun in 2014, you can bet the dysfunction is going to skyrocket.

    BTW, Joe, typo here. I assume there’s a “not” missing from the 1st sentence:

    I would say that lack of hustle was a rampant problem for the 2013 Mets. The one thing that most of the players did was play hard

    • Joe Janish December 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm
      oops! thanks for the fix. Damn, I need an editor in my old age …
  10. NormE December 10, 2013 at 4:18 pm
    The more I think about the Turner story the more it disturbs me. I saw enough (too many) games to see the fallacy in the belief that Turner didn’t hustle. If Adam Rubin was half the journalist he thinks he is he would address the innuendo directly with Alderson.
    It may be unfair of me, and I’ll apologize if it isn’t so, but this smells of li’l jeffie.
  11. jerseymet December 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm
    Turner is a solid ball player. Come on he hit .280 last year and played all the infield positions. At less than a million, Turner is a good value.. Turner was notable for his sense of humor. His walk up song “Call me maybe’ was priceless. I wonder what jokes he made about the Wilpons in the locker room? Fred and Jeff may not have thought Justin was funny. They tend to like their players bland and boring. Their publicly dishing Turner’s friend and room mate Ike Davis may be another source for commentary. Lousy bosses usually have no sense of humor. They just make bad decisions.
  12. Joe December 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm
    argonbunnies’ “vibe” guess is the best I can do here.

    I had a similar reaction as Joe Janish. The guy was disposable. Someone said “salary dump” — guy wasn’t making much money. Some didn’t like him; making fun of his pies was a common deal. But, he was a perfectly useful bit player that didn’t seem to make any trouble.

    Useful to have such people, but no one person tends to be must have. This comes off as an unfair slam on the guy. At times, this sort of talk was referenced here & I didn’t think it that big of a deal. A bit bush league. Here, it’s somewhat distasteful, since it seems gratuitous.

  13. DanB December 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm
    First of all, you don’t need to make much much to be a salary dump on the Mets. $500,000 is less then $1 million. If they replace him with a similar player then it makes sense. If they replace him with a lesser player, they are being cheap. But the real point is if the Mets thought he was a dog, why wait until Novemberto cut him? And why make it public unless you are trying to prevent backlash? I agree with NormE, smells like Jeff W’s handy work.
    • Joe December 11, 2013 at 11:38 am
      Even on the Mets, a few hundred thou is not much of a “salary dump” and we don’t even know who will be signed as a replacement.

      I don’t know the reason they made it public, but if it is to “prevent backlash,” you need something that doesn’t have regular viewers saying “huh.” People saw what he did. The criticism doesn’t make much sense.

      The team waited to make moves to have more time to maneuver. They didn’t just dispose of JV1 right away either.