Before signing J.D. Martinez, Mets eyed a reunion with former infielder

Before signing J.D. Martinez, the Mets reportedly considered reuniting with a former infielder.

Oct 7, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28)
Oct 7, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28) / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After months of anticipation, the New York Mets finally did it. They signed J.D. Martinez to be their full-time designated hitter. This was a move New York simply had to make as they had a rough DH situation last season and it looked even worse heading into the 2024 campaign before signing Martinez.

Martinez gives the Mets a solidified star to plug right behind Pete Alonso in what should be a formidable lineup, but it turns out, he wasn't their first choice.

Sports Illustrated's Pat Ragazzo reported that the Mets showed interest in Justin Turner during the Winter Meetings in December, and even made a contract offer. Turner, a Met from 2010-2013 before he broke out with the Dodgers, would've made a lot of sense for the Mets. He wound up signing a one-year, $13 million deal to join the Toronto Blue Jays instead.

Mets had their eyes set on Justin Turner before pivoting to J.D. Martinez

Turner might be 39 years old, but he's still a very good baseball player. This past season for the Red Sox he slashed .276/.345/.455 with 23 home runs and 96 RBI. He remained extremely potent with runners in scoring position and was able to play in 146 games.

He might not be as good of a hitter as Martinez, but Turner provides something he does not -- the ability to play the field. He's primarily a DH at this stage of his career, but Turner did see time at three different infield positions including third base which, as of now, is a position of weakness for the Mets.

New York hopes Brett Baty can show why he was a top 20 prospect heading into last season, but the young third baseman was largely unimpressive in his first prolonged MLB action. Having Turner as the primary DH who could play third base against lefties or even potentially consistently if Baty struggles again would've been a nice luxury.

For as good of a hitter as Martinez is, there are reasons why it took as long as it did for him to sign and why he had to accept the deal he wound up taking. It comes down to his age (36), a recent history of back injuries, and the fact that he does not play the field. He's a great hitter to add to any lineup, but his limitations are very real.

Both players would've been great adds for the Mets, so it's good that they were able to get Martinez signed. Hopefully third base isn't as bad as it was last season for the Mets so Turner's positional versatility isn't missed.