In a free agent market that’s been considered relatively desolate, third-baseman Justin Turner is one of the biggest names available. Today, news broke that the St. Louis Cardinals have been expressing interest in acquiring Turner. To that I have one word: Don’t.
Over the past three or four years, Justin Turner has really made a name for himself. With his break out season in 2014, at the ripe age of 29, many looked at Turner as a late bloomer who held massive value going forward. Dropping from a .340 average in 2014 to a .275 average last season, Turner hasn’t fully lived up to the hype, but has shown enough value to still warrant some. On top of his solid production at the plate, Turner is currently considered one of the best defensive third-basemen in the MLB. Holding a 0.972 fielding percentage and a 0.9 dWAR last season, Turner, if picked up by the team, could provide some stability to the team’s atrocious defense, who ranked 4th worst in the MLB last season.
The reason’s for the team’s interest in Turner makes even more sense now that the team has said that Matt Carpenter will no longer start at third. And even more sense when you realize that during his career Turner has spent time at every position in the infield. For a team that has prided itself on its flexibility and its ability to absorb injury without a huge shock, that means a lot.
So with many things pointing into why Turner’s acquisition would be a good move, why makes me say it wouldn’t be?
The Cardinal’s biggest need this offseason is center-fielder.
Acquiring Justin Turner wouldn’t give the Cardinals any of the tools they need to achieve this.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 29, 2016
Additionally, the acquisition of Justin Turner would put Jhonny Peralta in a state of purgatory. With Aledmys Diaz almost definitely getting the starting role at shortstop, third-base is the only position Peralta can play. Plagued by injury, Peralta’s 2016 season was far from his best season ever. Even though it was just that, plagued by injury, it wasn’t really an awful season. Sure Turner could be considered a slight upgrade in almost facets of the game, and sure Peralta probably doesn’t have many seasons left, but this upgrade would come at a pretty hefty price.
Predicted to be looking for a 5-year $85 million contract, the Cardinal’s would have to dish out a lot of money. Money that might be better spent upgrading a different weakness, or acquiring a third-baseman who didn’t just turn 32 years old. Is it really worth it to spend $17 million a year on an aging player who could be considered such a small upgrade.
By one projection (Steamer), Turner is only projected to slash 4 more homers than Peralta and to hold only a 20 point higher batting average. With Turner already nearing the end of his career, I would argue that he has most definitely already peaked as a player. From this point on, I wouldn’t expect any more all-star seasons out of him.
Furthermore, because Turner turned down a qualifying offer, the purchase of Turner would cause the Cardinal’s to lose a draft pick in next year’s draft. For a team that must compete with the World Series Champion Cubs for the foreseeable future, is losing a draft pick really worth it. A pick that could potentially find the team its star of the future?
Personally, I don’t think the Cardinals should pursue a Turner acquisition. To me, it just doesn’t make sense to pay so much for a relatively small upgrade for a relatively short amount of time.
But let us know what you think. Tweet us @cardsblog and let us know what you think the team should do.
Photo Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports