Angels, Dodgers and Mets "all in" on Pineiro

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3096.jpgJon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the Angels, Dodgers and Mets are “all in” on free agent Joel Pineiro.
The Mets have been connected to the 31-year-old right-hander all
winter, while the Dodgers have stepped up their pursuit in recent
weeks. The Angels, meanwhile, expressed interest early on, but have
money to spend after losing John Lackey and Chone Figgins.

Pineiro, like many free agent pitchers, hoped to use Randy Wolf’s
three-year, $30 million contract with the Brewers as a framework for a
new deal, but it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. At this point,
he’s more likely to find a contract just north of the two-year, $15
million contract the Nationals gave right-hander Jason Marquis.

On a related note, the Mets will be among a handful of teams in
attendance to watch Ben Sheets throw at the University of Louisiana on
Tuesday, according to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse. All involved will likely wait on investing in Pineiro until they see how Sheets checks out.
 

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.