It’s August, so major league players have to clear waivers before they can be traded, and at times notable names are moved during this month as teams look toward next season or look to bolster a potential playoff roster. Jacob Turner was designated for assignment by the Miami Marlins on Tuesday, and the 23-year old right-hander is best-known at his point in his career for being part of the Anibal Sanchez trade in July of 2012.
Turner had a 3.74 ERA over 20 starts (118 innings) with the Marlins in 2013, along with a 5.9 K/9 rate and a 4.1 BB/9 rate, but he had a 6.03 ERA as a starter this year (12 starts) and a 5.97 ERA overall in 20 appearances (78.1 innings). That upward spike in his ERA is aided by an inflated BABIP (.368), and obscures Turner’s improved strikeout (6.2 K/9), walk (2.6 BB/9) and ground ball rates (51.3 percent) along with better velocity (92.2 MPH average fastball velocity, per FanGraphs.com) this year.
Turner was selected ninth overall in the 2009 draft by the Detroit Tigers, and he has a 21-19 record with a 3.28 ERA over 75 minor league appearances (74 starts). It’s worth noting that his strikeout and walk rates this year are more in line with his minor league rates (7.0 K/9, 2.5 BB/9), and Turner has still only pitched 264 major league innings.
The Minnesota Twins should leave no stoned unturned in their effort to find starting pitchers, and it’s rare that a pitcher with Turner’s stature as a former top prospect becomes available at such a young age. Multiple teams, at least in theory, should have interest in him and the Twins could wind up on the outside looking in if a team ahead of them in waiver wire priority also submits a claim.
Some teams may shy away from adding Turner, since he is out of minor league options and an open 40-man roster spot would be needed to keep him around. Putting him into an open spot on the active roster would prevent another trip on the waiver wire merry-go-round, assuming a team didn’t want to take a chance on Turner passing through outright waivers at some point down the road. All of that may open the door for the Twins to win a waiver claim, and I expect to hear that they submitted a claim on Turner and were simply trumped by a team with an inferior record if they don’t get him. If news of the Twins at least trying to bring Turner into the fold does not surface at some point, I will be among those shaking my head at the hesitancy to buy-low on a pitcher with plenty of upside.