Shouldn't Damon be on Heyman's "free agent losers" list?

Leave a comment

SI’s Jon Heyman makes a list of the winners and losers of the 2009-10 free agent class.  The winners include Matt Holliday, John Lackey, those catchers who got overpaid, Ben Sheets and all of the utility players who got pretty decent deals for utility players.  The losers include Joel Piniero, Adam LaRoche, Vlad Guerrero, Jim Thome and others who got less than they were asking for.

Good lists. Can’t say as I disagree with Heyman’s analysis as far as it goes.  It’s just that someone is missing. Some guy who should have and could have signed a nice deal by now but didn’t due to some giant miscalculation, hubris or both. Someone who’s staring a 75% haircut in the face despite the fact that he had a good year in 2009.  Sorry I’m blanking here. Name’s on the tip on my tongue . . .

In Heyman’s defense, maybe he’s just refraining from passing judgment on guys who have yet to sign a deal because, hey, their deals may yet surprise you. I mean, it would only be good journalistic form to . . . what? What’s that?  Really?  He included other players who have yet to sign deals on his “loser” list?  Oh dear.

Anyone else got an explanation why Scott Boras’ biggest unemployed client didn’t make the list? Because, quite frankly, I’m stumped.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.