R.I.P. Marlins: Uggla says Ramirez doesn't care

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ramirez_hanley_090902.jpgWell it was a nice run while it lasted, Marlins fans.

As the Fish continue to slide in the standings — five back in NL wild-card race, 9 1/2 behind the Phillies — the level of frustration is on the rise, witness what happened in the clubhouse today: (via AP)

A frustrated and injured Hanley Ramirez said Wednesday that he “got some people upset” for leaving the game early the night before with an injury, then teammate Dan Uggla openly argued with the NL batting leader in the clubhouse.

Uggla accused Ramirez for a lack of desire and effort to win. He also said Ramirez wasn’t caring because he’s already secured a $70 million, six-year contract.

Ramirez has played with a tight hamstring for most of the season, and has still managed to put up an NL-best .355 average to go with 19 home runs, 85 RBIs and 24 stolen bases. But on Wednesday he said it was more than just his hamstring, but also his calf that was bothering him.

He makes $5.5 million this season, just $150,000 more than Uggla. But Uggla is on a one-year deal and not eligible for free agency until 2012, so there could be some lingering jealousy over money that boiled to the forefront during the Marlins’ recent struggles.

Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the Marlins’ playoff hopes that their best player is not only battling injuries, but potentially unhappy and lacking respect in some corners of his own clubhouse. When asked if he thought the reaction to his injury was unfair, Ramirez told the Palm Beach Post:

“Yeah but it’s OK. It hurt my feelings.”

As if chasing the Giants, Rockies, and Braves wasn’t difficult enough.

******

If you Twitter, and have hurt feelings, follow me at @Bharks.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.