justin turner
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As we’ve established many times on these interweb pages, the Mets have a crucial offseason ahead of them. It’ll likely include spending lots of money thanks to several impactful players from the 2022 squad becoming free agents. Many of them are pitchers, but the offense needs a boost. Could they look to bring back former Met Justin Turner if the Dodgers don’t exercise his club option for 2023?

New York’s direction on how to supplement the lineup is anyone’s guess right now. As for Turner, he didn’t hate the idea of coming back to Flushing. He spent parts of four seasons with the Mets before getting released and becoming an All-Star and down-ballot National League MVP vote getter with Los Angeles.

Mike Puma of the New York Post got the sound bite from him:

The veteran has spent the majority of his time in Hollywood at third base. The Mets have plenty of options at third base, too. Eduardo Escobar took the lion’s share of playing time in 2022, and both Brett Baty and Mark Vientos have experience at the hot corner.

Darin Ruf is technically under contract for 2023. However, his performance was a lot to be desired after getting acquired at the trade deadline. Turner would be an intriguing backup infielder while mostly taking at-bats as New York’s right-handed designated hitter. His power took a dip compared to last year (13 homers after hitting 27 in ’21), but that difference was made up in the doubles department. After collecting 22 doubles in 2021, that number went up to 36 in 2022.

Overall, Turner has continued to be a positive offensive contributor. In 532 plate appearances, the right-handed hitter slashed .278/.350/.438 with a 123 wRC+ and 2.4 fWAR. Next year will be Turner’s age-38 campaign. The Dodgers’ club option they have to make a decision on is worth $16 million. It also includes a $2 million buy-out, so L.A. has a $14 million decision to make.

The Dodgers may easily see this investment in Turner for one final year as a worthy one, but maybe not for that salary. His comment to Puma made me raise my eyebrow a bit, but of course he’s not opposed to a reunion with the Mets! Here are three reasons why.

New regime. The Mets released Turner after the 2013 season because of a “lack of hustle“. That would put a chip on my shoulder, and he’s proven himself over the past decade of baseball. Things are different in Flushing these days, and entirely because the Wilpons aren’t in charge anymore.

Win-now mode. We’ve seen that New York wants to win now and consistently into the future. And after winning 101 games in 2022, the organization will be doing what’s necessary to get back to the postseason next year. Entering his age-38 campaign, he wants to play for a contender. The Mets qualify as that.

Not turning down a job. It seems like Turner actually doesn’t know what the Dodgers are going to do. If he’s about to hit the open market, do you really think he’d say no to a big-league team potentially signing him? He could get a job with one of the 30 clubs, but there are only a few who are expected to contend in 2023. Even if he has no desire to return to New York, there ain’t no way he’s going to say so before knowing exactly what his market looks like yet.

Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.