Bengie Molina leaning toward retiring after the World Series

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Bengie Molina is in the unique position of getting a World Series ring even if the Rangers lose, as the veteran catcher spent the first half of the season with the Giants before being traded on July 1.

He’s guaranteed some new jewelry and will pad his wallet with a playoff share from both teams, but Molina told reporters yesterday that he’s leaning toward retiring following the series:

It’s more a yes than a no right now. I’m not saying for sure because something can happen in the winter and it can get worked out. But as for now, yes.

Molina wasn’t able to secure a multi-year deal as a free agent last winter and at age 36 would likely have to settle for another one-year pact this time around, but he’d certainly be able to find at least a part-time gig for 2011. However, for all the talk about the importance of his veteran leadership and impact on the Rangers there may not be many starting jobs available for an incredible slow 36-year-old who hit .249/.297/.326.

I’d miss being able to watch a big leaguer with the same body type as me, but one upside to Molina retiring is that it would create a job opening for other Molina brothers who haven’t yet had an opportunity to join the family business of catching big-league pitchers. Bengie, Yadier, and Jose have been hogging all the gigs, but I’m assuming there are at least a dozen more Molina brothers somewhere with equally strong throwing arms and equally molasses-like gaits.

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.