Mets imagine Sheets on their DL in 2010

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Thumbnail image for ben sheets.jpgThe New York Post is reporting that the Mets are “keeping an eye” on free agent pitcher Ben Sheets.

At first, I wasn’t sure what level of interest that implied, but it turns out the Mets are, indeed considering Sheets as a viable option for 2010.

A major-league source confirmed that Sheets, 31, would be among a group of second-tier, relatively low-cost starting pitchers the Mets will consider this offseason while continuing their pursuit of top free-agent starter John Lackey.

The story says the Mets are also considering Joel Pineiro, Jason Marquis and Randy Wolf, all safer, healthier, but less-sexy options.

On the positive side of things, Sheets didn’t give up a single run in 2009 (maybe that’s what the Mets noticed). On the negative side, he wasn’t able to pitch a single inning either after having surgery in February on a tendon in his forearm.

We all know about Ben Sheets (stats). When he’s healthy, he’s very good. But he is known for his struggles in that department. Since entering the league in 2001, he has thrown more than 200 innings four times, but not once since 2004.

Sheets, a four-time All-Star, looks like a good gamble on a short-term contract. But given the injury problems the Mets had in 2009, this seems like a matchup made for the doctor’s waiting room. Then again, I can’t blame the Mets too much for imagining what a nice addition Sheets would make to their disabled list next season. After all, an injured Sheets is still better than Oliver Perez.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

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.