Mets rumors: With $10 million budget, are they out on Justin Turner, JD Martinez?

JD Martinez Mets trade rumors
JD Martinez as a member of the Boston Red Sox (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

If the Mets are committed to finding help at designated hitter or potentially third base, it doesn’t appear to be coming from free agency. 

Andy Martino on SNY’s Mets Hot Stove reported that president of baseball operations, David Stearns, has roughly $10 million to spend this offseason. The priority of that is expected to be relief pitching as the Mets need to bolster the bullpen behind Edwin Diaz and Brooks Raley. 

That immediately casts doubt on the pursuit of much-needed DH and third-base help. Stearns has yet to properly address the void at DH after moving on from the failed Daniel Vogelbach experiment and there were rumblings in late December that the team was “eyeing” veteran JD Martinez, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post. 

Martinez’s pricetag should well exceed what Stearns has left in the reserve tanks. MLB Trade Rumors projected the 36-year-old, who slashed .271/.321/.572 (.893 OPS) with 33 home runs and 103 RBI with the Dodgers last year, to get a deal worth $20 million annually. 

Red Sox Yankees
Justin Turner (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Another veteran free agent option who has been linked to the Mets, Justin Turner, could also tick off the DH box while providing a bit more versatility after a wrench was thrown into the club’s third-base competition. Ronny Mauricio is expected to miss most of the 2024 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee. 

Turner, 39, not only is a natural third baseman who could eat innings at the position should the likes of Brett Baty and Mark Vientos struggle, but he’s still plenty productive at the plate to take a chunk of DH time, as well. Last season with the Red Sox, he posted an .800 OPS with 23 home runs and 96 RBI.

MLB Trade Rumors projects him to make $16 million on a one-year contract.

Of course, it remains to be seen just how strict Stearns’ $10 million budget is for the rest of the winter. Given owner Steve Cohen’s deep pockets, some flexibility could be provided if the prospect of providing significant help to the lineup is too good to pass up.

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