Jason Marquis is interested in helping the Nats

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Even if Jason Marquis isn’t a great pitcher, he’s definitely a great pitchman.  When the Mets had some interest in him he went all-in on his “I’m a New York guy” spiel. Now that the Mets’ interest has cooled, he has launched straight into “I can help the Nats” mode:

Marquis said he can be one person who can help Washington’s young
pitching staff, which includes John Lannan and Garrett Mock. Marquis
indicated that he can teach the young kids what he learned from
veterans like Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Chris Carpenter and Matt
Morris . . . “Learning from those veterans, learning how to win and
recognizing situations, I felt I brought that to the table in Colorado
and I really helped … De La Rosa and Jimenez, who were trying to get
over that hump,” said Marquis. “I feel I could bring that [kind of
leadership] to a team.”

I’m dubious that his hanging around guys like Maddux, Glavine, Carpenter and Morris will help Washington’s young pitchers too much, because it’s really not all that apparent that it has helped Marquis. For all of his available mentors, he’s more or less the same pitcher he’s always been — inconsistent — and there aren’t a lot of examples of that kind of osmosis working with many guys. If it did, Horacio Ramirez would be better.

But Marquis would be a useful addition in Washington. Partially because what he brings — a lot of average/occasionally above-average innings — is something Washington could definitely use.  And while the mentorship thing may not work the way Marquis suggests it does, having a guy who actually wants to pitch in Washington and wants to help the young pitchers would be a definite plus for the Nationals.

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.