Justin Turner or Daniel Murphy: Could an ex-Met win the MVP?

No New York Met has ever won the MVP award, and from the look of things none will this year either. However there are two ex-Mets who have a real good shot this time, Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy, and it is at least a possibility they could finish one-two in the voting.

After a stint with the Mets, Turner joined the Dodgers in 2014, He has been a tremendous force since then, especially the current season. In 65 games his slash line is .377/.473/.583. He is leading the NL in the first two categories, and is fifth in SLG. He is an above average fielder at third base, Fangraphs shows his UZR at 2.7 this season, and 14.1 in 2006. Since he returned from a stint on the DL, he and the Dodgers have been on fire.

Murphy started off in the Mets organization, then signed with Washington in 2016. He had a monster season that year with the Nats, and he finished second in the MVP voting. This year he has been nearly as good, sporting a .342/.393/.572 slash line after 82 games, he is second in the League in batting and first in doubles with 29. His defense at second base is suspect, but then he does provide way more offensive production than is normal for that premium position.

Turner’s last year with the Mets was 2013, when he produced a .280/.319/.385 slash line in 86 games. Pretty good, but not great numbers, especially since he was versatile defensively, as the Mets used him all around the infield. However, the Mets did not offer him a contract, and he signed a Minor League (ouch!) deal with the Dodgers, in what turned out to be a great bargain for them.

Murphy’s last year with the Mets was memorable. Although he started off slowly, he was awesome with the bat for the last month of the season, then was even more awesome in the NLDS and NLCS as he was a key cog in that pennant-winning run. He set a postseason record with homers in six consecutive games, and was MVP of the NLCS. His contract was up that season, and he wanted a long term deal. The Mets made a qualifying offer, but they made no real effort to offer him a three or four year deal, and Murphy ended up signing with the Nats in what has also turned out to have been a great bargain for them.

Both players made swing adjustments that paid great dividends. After his Met tenure Turner tweaked his swing in the off-season, much to his benefit. Murphy also modified his swing, working with Met batting coach Kevin Long in 2015. He moved closer to the plate, changed his swing angle and went from a contact hitter to a contact hitter with power.

Fan reaction at the time was mixed in response to the Met’s failure to sign the two players. Reports at the time showed a reason Turner was not re-signed was a perceived lack of hustle. I checked back on some of the old Mets360 comments at the time, and some fans wanted him back for his flexibility, others thought Josh Satin was a better option. Satin was out of MLB after a poor 2014 season.

Some fans grumbled about the failure to sign Murphy (myself among them) others were satisfied by the acquisition of Neil Walker to play second. When he’s been on the field Walker has been ok, but is certainly not the slugger that Murphy is.

The Nats and Dodgers figure to win their respective divisions, which will help Turner and Murphy in their MVP candidacies. Buster Posey is having a great year, but playing for the last-place Giants will not help him. Corey Seager of the Dodgers and Bryce Harper of the Nationals are certainly contenders for the MVP, but at this point there is a good chance an ex-Met will win the MVP, with maybe the other ex-Met finishing second.

14 comments for “Justin Turner or Daniel Murphy: Could an ex-Met win the MVP?

  1. Eraff
    July 12, 2017 at 10:29 am

    It’s especially difficult to fault the Mets on Turner. Certainly he was a usable and versatile widget as a Met. The Mets could be faulted for their late to the party outlook on positional flexibility…but they had Flores, The Dilson, and Chechinni as guys in the wings with supposedly higher upside.

    I liked Justin, but the guy had 1000 mlb ab’s scratching at a .700 OPS on the cusp of his 29th birthday— following a minor league career that featured similar versatility and a .750 OPS.

    Science??? The Devil??? Good for Him.

    • Jimmy P
      July 13, 2017 at 9:43 am

      I think his pal Marlon Byrd turned him onto the Juice.

  2. John Fox
    July 12, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Please note there was a somewhat similar article linking Turner and Murphy in yesterday’s Daily News, I had already written and submitted mine by the time I saw the article by Kristie Ackert.

  3. Tommyb
    July 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Let Murphy and Turner tie for the MVP this year to really rub salt into the wounds

  4. Chris F
    July 12, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Neither will win MVP, but point well taken. Its part of the game. Murph had a streak in 2015 that no one believed had legs on. And when it came to the WS, it looked to be over. His defense remains highly suspect. It was a gamble and it didnt work, and really hurts because we see him 19x a year. Its not ike he was snapped up as an FA. I dont recall a flood of tears (except perhaps from Flores) about the departure of Turner. I think we all liked him, and as a utility guy and back up bat he really didnt let on what was coming. I think both are why the Mets still keep with Flores getting AB on the miracle he becomes Murph or Turner. Unfortunately, SA let the good ones go.

    We did have some great productivity from Ces that was amazing, and hopefully will be.

  5. Pete In Iowa
    July 12, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I think the Mets handled Murphy properly. Who could have foreseen his Sept and Oct 2015 was real? Don’t forget, he had only 3 singles and a .150BA in the World Series, though he did walk 5 times. And — lest we forget — one humongous, series-changing error. On a dribbler!
    Entering his age 31 season and based upon his career .288 BA and .424 SLG, extending him a qualifying offer was the smart thing to do. If Murphy himself had believed his last 2 months of 2015 were really him, he would have taken the $15 million offer and hit the open market this past off-season, based upon his big two months. But he didn’t.
    Look, I can’t blame him for taking 3 yrs and $36 million. However, in taking that deal, he cost himself more than 3 million last season. It’s also likely he would have inked a deal in the 80-100 million range this past off-season had he produced the same numbers for the Mets as he did for the Gnats last year.
    Based on this, it should be obvious Murphy himself didn’t think he was the type of hitter over a full season as he was the last 2 months of 2015.

  6. Pete from NJ
    July 12, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    I think Petecfrom Iowa has a good point concerning the Murph and the rest of the league.don’t forget Brandon Phillips was Washington ‘s 1st choice for second base, until he vetoed the move. The Mets had an infield jam and went with Lucas Duda for the open slot plus not really knowing David Wright’s status.

    As far as Justin Turner, I recall itvwas the dark days of budget cutting and Turner was up for a raise. TC used Turner all overvthe place and hit fairly well forbthe team. It seems like ancient history.

    Oh the have hitters with a .300 batting average who can hit with power. Mark it up as an error in judgement and file it into our history lesson.

  7. Jimmy P
    July 13, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Murphy was a massive mistake. They knew him best and failed to value his strengths. I’ve always wondered what Kevin Long thought about Murphy and that decision.

    No, it’s true, no one could say that he’d do this well. But his track record as being a professional, extremely consistent hitter — and baseball junkie — and quality teammate with top-step energy — was long established.

    And he did rise to the occasion when the games mattered most.

    It was certainly possible that the new power stroke was real enough to raise his game a notch. He was already a terrific hitter.

    I said at the time that the only way it makes sense to get rid of Murphy was if the club 1) truly believed in Herrera; and 2) because of financial resources, wanted to use that savings to address other problem areas.

    Instead they dumped Herrera, properly, and went out and got Neil Walker for a higher price.

    They simply didn’t like Murphy. But I did.

    People can say this is hindsight, okay, fine. But this is about internal scouting, about the effectiveness of a team’s own insight and evaluation process. And on Murphy, they got it wildly, horrendously wrong.

    It’s the antithesis to the Oliver Perez contract. As I said back in those days, the biggest flaw was that this was a guy they knew. He was in their clubhouse every day. They saw him up close and personal — and screwed the pooch. Same thing with Murphy.

    People talk about defense, but does anyone truly believe that’s what motivated Sandy Alderson? For whatever reason, he didn’t like Daniel Murphy. Maybe he didn’t walk enough. Maybe he didn’t adapt the GM’s absurd hitting philosophy. Maybe he was too conservative (find that hard to believe)?

    If the Mets kept Murphy, they would be a lot, lot better off today. And he was cheap. The Mets blew this one, big time. It’s a massive failure of the Alderson regime.

    On Turner, it was impossible to predict that he would take Marlon Byrd’s advice and utterly transform his body and his approach to hitting and become a completely different player than we had ever witnessed before. To me, he’s a juicer. I can’t prove that, of course, but it’s not like I’m taking him to court or anything. It’s just what I see and think.

    • John Fox
      July 13, 2017 at 10:18 am

      excellent analysis Jimmy, I agree with most of what you say, although I don’t think that Turner was juicing, modifying his swing and getting a chance to play every day (at third) were probably the keys. But I too thought at the time they should have kept Murphy, and yes it was a massive mistake not to offer him something similar to the 3 year deal he got from the Nats

    • Chris F
      July 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Every person is free to have the feelings they do. That can never be wrong. But the idea the Murphy would turn into a monster in his 30s, after peak physical prime is not reasonable. Nowhere in his baseball card as a Met, was there evidence of what he has become with the Nats. He batted .300 one time, in 2011. His OPS+ hovered around 110. As a Nat, the story could not be more different. All the sudden hes added 50 points to BA, and 200 to his OPS. This year he may have 200+ hits and 60 doubles. The line between murphy as a Met and a Nat looks like the San Andreas fault, a boundary between 2 unrelated tectonic plates. It is also wildly wrong to think what Murphy is doing as a Nat goes right to being a Met had he stayed. He is in a ferocious, relentless line up that is far better than being on the Mets. Attendant with that comes the notion of having to be pitched to. Sure, Murph stepped up his game. But I think its crazy to think this was the Murphy being let go of (because that would not have happened). Remember, he was made a QO for almost 50% of his Nats contract. If you compare Walker through their years before the change of clubs, he is hands down more consistent with the bat and much better in the field. Those are the facts at the time of the transactions.

      • Jimmy P
        July 14, 2017 at 8:47 am

        It was a bad read on a very consistent player who showed clear signs of raising his game a notch. That he went so far above and beyond that was unpredictable.

        You know very well that the QO was about the draft pick, a technicality, not a sincere attempt to retain him. Murphy knew that too.

        This organization got it wrong. I’m amazed that so many here at 360 continue to defend it even now when in retrospect it is so obvious that the Mets picked the wrong door.

        Without looking it up, Murphy hit a consistent high .280s with around 42-44 doubles every season as a Met. He was extremely hard to strike out (maybe an undervalued attribute in today’s baseball). And he started to demonstrate an ability to turn on the inside pitch with power, a skill that was taught and honed and emphasized by the Mets own hitting coach. There was no reason to think he wouldn’t be a productive hitter for the Mets over the course of a cheap three-year deal. He also could play 3B or 1B at a time when David Wright was showing health issues.

        It was a terrible mistake. These things happen, teams fail to recognize what they’ve got in some players, but the end result was we had him and let him slip away to our division rivals and it has clearly, undeniably hurt the Mets’ fortunes.

        • Chris F
          July 14, 2017 at 4:06 pm

          The perfection of hindsight is certainly humbling. I wonder what if we didnt trade Ryan for Fregosi…

          The was no way to know what would happen. And its a mistake thinking his results as a Nat would be the same as a Met. But overall, Murphy was a guy on a team. Sure he had devoted fans such as yourself. We saw plenty of infield gaffes that made him look like Flores. Its easy with blinders on to forget that. He was awful at 3B when we saw him there because he has a weak arm, much like Flores. As much as we saw a guy bleed team colors and work hard, it didn’t translate to being more than another guy on a team, one of those necessary average “blender” players that comprise most teams. He was not more than that as a Met. His record say that.

  8. Fletcher Rabbit
    July 13, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    This is a vapid article of absolutely no significance. This is just a “writer” who wants to see his byline. For his information, neither would even be the first ex-Met to win an MVP; does anyone else recall some guy named Mitchell? Or another guy named Kent? Truth be told there might even be another or two, but those cameto mind immediately. When a writer has zip to contribute he should just seal his mouth and keypad off from public scrutiny.

    Balderdash!

    • John Fox
      July 13, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      i never said Turner or Murphy could be the first ex-Met to win the MVP, I did say that no Met has ever won the MVP, but this year it is at least a possibility that ex-Mets Turner and Murphy could possibly finish one-two in the voting.

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