St. Louis Cardinals: Cards should have signed Justin Turner

michaeldavidmiles
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 05: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts during his at bat in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on July 5, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 05: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts during his at bat in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on July 5, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals sit just slightly under .500 baseball but, had they made a different move during the offseason, numbers argue that they might be sitting in a better position.

The St. Louis Cardinals were rumored during the offseason to have kicked the tires on then-former and now-current Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman, Justin Turner. As the Cardinals now find themselves scratching their heads for a true number-three and number-four batter, would a move for Turner have impacted the Cardinals in the positive direction?

Turner finished the 2016 campaign with a slash line of .275/.339/.493. The St. Louis Cardinals had Jhonny Peralta holding down third base at the end of a weakened season. Peralta had posted a 2016 slash of .260/.307/.408. At the time, Turner didn’t look to be too much better than Peralta, save his three-year-younger age.

In 2016, Turner was paid $5.1M and potentially facing free agency. Peralta earned $12.5M in 2016 and had a single year remaining on his contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. As Turner was looking free agency in the face, Peralta had a secured $10M remaining for 2017.

The numbers illustrate one reason why the Cardinals were myopic at best. That said, making no move for a better third baseman was a mistake as we know now that Peralta faltered. But wait, what about Jedd Gyorko? Let’s take a look.

Before I get to the numbers, let me also illustrate that Turner signed a new 4-year, $64M contract with Los Angeles. In light of his 2017 numbers and threat at the plate, this is a steal-like contract that the Cardinals should be carrying.

To the numbers… In 2017, Turner has posted a slash line of .380/.475/.566. Wouldn’t you like to have these numbers wearing the birds on the bat?

To his credit, Gyorko has posted a 2017 slash line of .304/.369/.519. Very similar numbers, no? And while Turner is making $13M this season, Gyorko is making half that at $6M with $2M being paid by the San Diego Padres. This means, to me at least, that Gyorko is an absolute steal for the Cardinals and likely of better value at this time.

Pushing those things to the side, let us think about a lineup that might include Turner. What if the Cardinals lineup looked like this:

Matt Carpenter, 1B (Luke Voit replacing Carpenter but batting lower against lefties)

Dexter Fowler, CF

Justin Turner, 3B

Jedd Gyorko, 2B

Tommy Pham, LF

Yadier Molina, C

Stephen Piscotty, RF

Paul DeJong, SS

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That lineup would intimidate whereas the current lineup does not. Think about that 3-4-5! That would have the averages in those slots setting up as .380, .304, and .289 respectively. And the number five man could easily be replaced for someone else in the lineup and/or Voit when facing a lefty (this would make the BA at #5 as .333).

Additionally, think about the slugging of the 3-4-5 in the lineup above! That would have these numbers lining up as .566, .519, and .492 with Pham or .704 with Voit. Wow, right?!

To the chase then, the St. Louis Cardinals missed the boat on Turner and that would have made a dramatic difference. Dramatic. Without Turner, and without the likelihood that the Cardinals will work a deal for Turner before the deadline (albeit they should still try in my opinion), the Cards now must look at an impact bat like extremely-expensive Giancarlo Stanton.

What do you think? Should the Cardinals call the Dodgers on Turner or have they missed the boat entirely? If Turner can’t be had, who should the St. Louis Cardinals target to impact the middle of their lineup? Let me know on Twitter and stick with us as we will update any rumors we hear!

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