Results tagged ‘ Justin Turner ’

A word from Justin Turner

justin_turner.jpgYes, the Ramon Hernandez-Ryan Freel deal was mostly about Matt Wieters. And yes, there were the big-league parts (RH impact hitter to the Reds). But the two Minor Leaguers the Orioles got are not nothing. Neither may be elite players, with Brandon Waring having great raw power and the question of whether he’ll make consistent enough contact as he moves up to reach that power, and Justin Turner being a real “baseball player,” in scouting parlance.

I had the chance to chat with Turner yesterday after the trade was announced. He’s the kind of baseball rat that every winning team needs to have. Whether he’s an every-day second baseman or a utilityman in the future remains to be seen, but he’s definitely the type who will somehow make his way to the big leagues and contribute. Here’s a sampling of what he had to say about the trade, his new organization and leaving his old friends with the Reds.

On the trade:

I was kind of surprised at first.
You never really know when that kind of stuff is going to happen. I’m looking
forward to the opportunity and the change of scenery and hopefully good things
will come of it.”

 

On whether he’ll have a better shot with the O’s, who don’t have as much infield depth as the Reds:

“I haven’t talked to anyone with the
Orioles [front office] there. I have some good friends who are infielders there. There’s Blake
Davis, a shortstop. I played with him for  4 years at [Cal State Fullerton]. Scott Moore, who
I grew up with, is a third baseman with them. From talking to those guys, it might create a
better opportunity for me. The bottom line is I’ll still have to go out there
and play and perform. I’d like to think that if I have a good year, no matter
what organization I’m with, I’d get a chance to reach the big
leagues.”

On possibly playing a utility
role:

You see that more and more, guys
playing all over the field. It definitely helps your chances of staying up there
as a utility guy. I’d like to stick at second base and be a second baseman, but
if that doesn’t work out, I’d be more than happy to be a utility guy and help
out that way.”

On ending his relationship with the
Reds, especially his double-play partner Chris
Valaika:

“It’s definitely going to be tough
and it’s going to be a change. Chris was one of the guys I contacted first when
I heard the news. He’s excited for me and happy for me. It does kind of stink to
be separated from him. We’ve played together for three years. We had a good feel
for each other and we were a good combo up the middle. I guess that’s the
business of baseball. I wish him the best of luck and just look at this as a new
opportunity.”

The real deal on the Freel deal

Sure, the Orioles are excited to have Ryan Freel on the team and they probably think Justin Turner and Brandon Waring have futures as well. But one of the most interesting things about these trades in general is how they can impact — positively or negatively — the prospects who were in the organization prevoiusly.

What makes this specific deal more intriguing is that the decision-makers listed that very concept as the main reason for the trade. At the press conference officially announcing the trade, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said flat out that the trading of Ramon Hernandez to the Reds was really all about Matt Wieters.

How’s that for refreshingly honest?

Can you remember a time when something like that, regardless of how obvious it is to everyone, is put out in the open like that from the get-go? MacPhail stated plainly that Wieters will be ready to contribute at some point in 2009 — don’t be surprised if the O’s “Evan Longoria” him by having him start out in Triple-A for a brief time — and that when Wieters does get called up, they are going to want him to play. Sharing time was not something Hernandez would want to do and it could possibly impede with Wieters’ development.

So kudos all around to the Orioles. For making room for their best prospect — and one of the best prospects in the game — allowing him to reach the big leagues when he’s ready. And kudos to them for admitting it so freely. Things are looking up for the O’s with some of the talent they have (just look at all those names in the Top 50) and making sure they can get there with out obstacles will be a big reason why they will start being much more competitive in the AL East in the future.

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