The Seattle Mariners should pass on adding third baseman Justin Turner this offseason.
Baseball fans surely remember the last time we saw third baseman Justin Turner. He had just won a World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But before the end of the game, he was pulled after testing positive for COVID-19. But then, inexplicably, he came back on to the field for a post-game celebration and was bashed by critics for good reason. This isn’t leadership and veteran leadership is what the Seattle Mariners need right now.
The Mariners are not without talent. The talent is just young and mostly unproven. But adding a productive veteran presence or three would be helpful in 2021. But adding such veterans needs to be done the right way and needs to be for the better of the team. Plus, the last time I looked the Mariners already had a veteran third baseman in Kyle Seager, and changing out Seager for Turner is just, well…dumb.
Sure, Turner is the better and more consistent hitter compared to Seager, but he isn’t as good in the field. In 2020, Turner’s fielding percentage was .952. Kyle Seager’s was .975 and he had 70 more chances than Turner. Adding Turner to simply DH isn’t a good move either; Turner isn’t that good of a hitter.
Plus, Turner is three years older than Seager and likely to be a lesser hitter in the next couple of seasons. Justin Turner has also missed some time on the field due to different nagging injuries in the past. He does not quite deserve the Injury Prone title, but it is another thing to worry about. Kyle Seager on the other hand has been one of the most reliable players to stay on the field and could even be dubbed the Seattle Mariners version of Iron Man.
2019 was the only season where Kyle Seager did not play almost every single game in a season. Justin Turner has not been nearly close to 162 games in his entire career except in 2016. The last thing the Mariners need is an expensive veteran that will not play often in 2021.
To be clear, Seattle is building through athletic talent with hopefully a strong pitching staff. But the pitchers are going to be young and make mistakes and therefore the Mariners defense is going to be really important. Seager can help hide some sins defensively, Turner less so. And yes, the Mariners struggle scoring but they also have lots of prospects who can hit. Scoring runs should be less of a problem in 2021 than it was in 2020 and even less so in 2022.
Seattle needs to be very precise in the talent they add and they need to stick to their rebuild model. The Mariners exceeded expectations some in 2020 and will be better in 2021. Adding Turner doesn’t make Seattle any better so they should not sign the free-agent third baseman.