Worth taking a look at WAR to determine the best second base options for 2012 in-house. The stat really summarizes nicely what the strengths and weaknesses are of the three candidates:
Player Offensive WAR Defensive WAR Total WAR
Daniel Murphy 1.8 0.1 1.9
Justin Turner 1.4 -1.2 0.2
Ruben Tejada 1.5 -0.4 1.1
Let’s unpack this a bit. In terms of Tejada, it is worth noting that he’s put up reasonable offensive numbers at age-21 in the major leagues. If his glove plays better in 2012 than WAR has it in 2011- and that seems like a reasonable assumption, given his overall talent and defensive track record- he is a perfectly reasonable option at the position in 2012.
Now, I happen to like Daniel Murphy’s defensive potential at second base as well. His shortcomings look to me like the result of a lack of reps at the position, while his range is impressive. If the Mets need Tejada at shortstop, Murphy looks like a strong option at second base. If they don’t, I’d still be inclined to let Murphy start at the position, with Tejada at Triple-A, ready to fill in.
What I won’t want to see is Justin Turner at second base. His defense, from my view, dovetails with the stats, poor range that brings his contributions in 2011 down to replacement level. If the Mets are without Jose Reyes and David Wright next year, a scenario could unfold with Murphy at third base and Tejada at shortstop. Neither of these would be terrible options (though, for reasons it probably isn’t necessary to detail, this would be a massive dropoff from the current occupants of the positions). Turner still shouldn’t be the second baseman. He’ll be 27, and unlike Murphy, he’s played more than 400 professional games at second base. This is almost certainly who he is.
Then again, without Wright or Reyes, maybe it just doesn’t matter who plays second base.