Give Justin Turner a chance at first base

Since the beginning of the 2012 season the Mets have been patient with Ike Davis’s struggles. They even kept him in the majors, allowing him to turn around his season, putting up a wRC+ of 141, offsetting his wRC+ of 79 in the first half. However, his start to this season has been nightmarish. Hitting a humbling line of .137/.236/.245, the public has expressed its discontent with Davis’s under-performance. Last week the New York Times ran a front-page article highlighting Davis’s lack of production. With a lack of effort and a lack of performance, a demotion seems likely for Ike Davis

Replacing Davis’s bat will not be the hard part at all. He’s currently one of the worst hitters in baseball, and to put things in perspective, Marco Scutaro currently has an ISO of .101, and the notoriously powerful Davis has a lower ISO of .098. Davis’s bat isn’t even succeeding at what he is known to do, which is to hit for power. Any player on the Mets could probably replace Davis’s bat.

The question really is: who can handle first base? There’s always the idea of moving Lucas Duda back to first base. However, moving Duda to first base doesn’t necessarily solve the problem at hand. First of all, Duda has worked hard since the beginning of the 2012 season to build up his outfield chops. Although Duda will never be an average outfielder, he needs to be able to play the position every day so that he is comfortable with it. It’s pointless to shift Duda around, only to move him back when Davis is ready to return.

Justin Turner is probably the best choice to take over the starting job. Turner can play all of the infield positions, so taking over first-base duties until Davis returns is not out of his realm. As far as Turner’s bat goes, it would be a significant improvement over what Davis is contributing, as he is hitting a line of .288/.324/.333. Those numbers are from a small sample of 72 plate appearances, but even ZiPs thinks Turner will be about replacement level, which is what the Mets need out of him. Since Davis’s production has been far below replacement, it seems as though Turner is the right choice to fill the void.
Turner deserves the promotion. He has proved that he cannot only man the position, but that he’s also likely to contribute offensively on a day-to-day basis. He’s done his time on the bench, and he has been flexible every day by being able to play a variety of roles for the team. It’s time he gets a chance at first base. Plus he has the coolest beard on the team. As Mets fans, let’s hope that if Turner takes over that he produces.  However, let’s hope even more that some time in the minors for Ike Davis will allow him to come back hitting with vengeance.

13 comments for “Give Justin Turner a chance at first base

  1. May 26, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I am sorry, but . . . Come on, Justin Turner? Our utility guy? His value is that he can fill in at all four infield positions, providing the manager with some flexibility (in today’s baseball of 12-man pitching staffs and shallow benches). But as a solution to first base?

    Have our expectations for a major league team in NYC sunk this low?

  2. Metsense
    May 26, 2013 at 8:44 am

    In 2012 the average NL 1B hit 22 HR’s with a .777 OPS. Turner has a career .674 OPS and no power so why waste the time going there. Turner is a convenience as a 1B (and I’m being very generous with that term) and not a viable candidate.
    If the criteria for playing LF is “working hard” then based on that criteria Murphy should not have been moved from there. Duda is not an OF and the sooner the Mets rectify that achilles heel the better they will be.
    Good answer above, James.

  3. May 26, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Any player as you say could replace Davis’ bat. The problem is the answer has to be for the long haul and not just a stop gap solution. So with that in mind sending him down would give the Mets a chance to see who exactly is going to replace Ike at first. If no one meets their expectations then its time to look outside and see what’s available. Justin Turner is NOT a power corner infielder so I would imagine that the organization would look elsewhere.

  4. Jerry Grote
    May 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

    First of all, love the homage to the beard. Turner seems like the kind of guy you need in a clubhouse.

    For the life of me, I cannot understand the aversion to playing Lucas Duda at 1B. It subtracts his defensive inabilities, and adds offensive power to the lineup by subtracting Davis and substituting .

    I’m pretty much aligned with Metsense on this. OTOH … this is truly a lost season. This is a most opportune time to see if Lutz/Satin have what it takes to play the position. We can try Duda at 3 later.

    • Name
      May 26, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Moving Duda to 1B means you are giving up on Davis. If Duda hits well after the transition, where does Ike play if he ever comes back? It wouldn’t make sense at all (in the long term) to move Duda to 1st and then move him somewhere else if you’re planning on Davis to return unless the Mets plan to trade him before Davis comes back. By keeping Duda out in LF for now, it keeps our options open for the future.

      I think i’m one of the last, but I’ve also given up on the season. Apart from Harvey and Parnell, nearly everyone on the squad has regressed.

      I only hope that when the Mets play the Yankees later in this week they can retake some of the luck that the Yankees sucked from the Mets at the beginning of the season and at least make the team watchable for the rest of the year.

      • Chris F
        May 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm

        I’ve had my fill of Ike and ready to part ways, much like Jason Bay. He will begin to cost this team real money as time moves on. His 600% salary raise this year is a complete waste of money, in his age 26 season. He won’t stand a chance to be a real positive force til he is 27. At what point do you just day he is not our guy. What message will a demotion to LV and a move to 1B for Duda send? Simple. Figure it out or we are done. With a team so desperate for anything positive, holding 1B for the worst hitter in the pros seems like total folly. At this age and 4 years as a pro, if he were really gonna make it, that would be clear.

        As we realize the task Sandy faces, in large part self imposed, is much larger than we care to accept, fixing it by shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic (I.e., moving JT to 1B) will have no possible measurable effect. Duda may project to an average 1B man, and if he hits well after being moved there, what’s the problem? Ike is an inch away from not being a pro baseball player. I’m not sure he deserves to be.

      • Jerry Grote
        May 27, 2013 at 8:39 am

        @Name … I’ve written lately, essentially, that I think the real threat to the Mets is that Ike Davis gets just good enough, just long enough that he fools Sandy into a (heaven-forbid) six year extension.

        Hooking your organization to a middle of the order hitter with such extreme splits is lunacy. Just look at Ryan Howard. And *its not just about the money*. Its about what you are doing to your lineup construction and your roster flexibility.

        He’s a mistake. He’s the guy that makes your team just good enough to completely suck for a long, long time.

        • May 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm

          That last line is really interesting to me.

          Not sure if I agree or disagree with it but it’s definitely something I want to chew on for a bit. Regardless, I would be shocked if given his starts the past two years that the Mets would give him a deal like that.

  5. Joe Vasile
    May 26, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Justin Turner doesn’t belong on a major league roster, let alone as a starter.

  6. May 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I’m ok with seeing Turner there occasionally, but if roster moves are being made, then get a better option for long term. Dunno if that’s Satin, Lutz, Buck or who exactly, but leave Turner has the first guy off the bench.

  7. NormE
    May 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    If you stay within the organization, it seems that the choices are:
    Lucas Duda—a first baseman posing as a leftfielder
    Justin Turner—a utility player with no power
    John Buck—a catcher with very little experience at first base
    Daniel Murphy—a hitter with mediocre fielding ability posing as a second baseman
    Josh Satin—a minor league version of Daniel Murphy, but not on the 40 man roster
    Zach Lutz—a corner infielder with modest power and fielding ability
    Andrew Brown—a AAAA outfielder with limited experience at first base

    Not an imposing list.

    If I overlooked anyone it may be because no one has stepped forward to grab one’s attention.

    • Jerry Grote
      May 27, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Pretty much right on here, but given the things Brian Joura has written about Murphy in the field perhaps you are not giving him the upshot in UZR he deserves.

      Look at what the post shows, and boil it down a bit.

      Duda, a firstbaseman posing as a LF
      Brown, AAAA outfielder posing as 1B.

      There is a glimmer there. I personally prefer Brown LF, Duda 1B.

      Clearly Duda has some of the same constraints as Davis (splits), not to mention he’s not the fielder Davis is. The difference is a matter of tenor. Emotionally speaking as an organization we have too much invested in Davis (and in particular, TC). Clearly this is a team that wouldn’t give a second thought to dropping Duda on his face, or at least bringing in a platoon split to make it work.

      The reason you don’t have Upton’s HRs in Flushing is because of Ike Davis and the hope placed there. Give up the hopium.

  8. steevy
    May 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Yeah,everybody else pretty much covered it.No Turner at first base,he’s a utility infielder.Terry plays him too much as it is.

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