Dan Uggla reportedly rejects a four year, $48 million offer

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Last week we heard a report that the Marlins had an offer on the table to Dan Uggla. All we knew at the time was that the first year offered only a $200,000 raise for the arbitration-eligible Uggla. Ken Rosenthal reports, however, that it was a better overall deal than that suggested: four years, $48 million.  He also reports that Uggla has rejected the offer.

Seems like a lot of money for a guy like Uggla to turn down. Yes, he’s been a beast offensively, but he’s also got another year until free agency, at which point he’ll be 31, the big spenders out there aren’t exactly in the market for second base help, second basemen tend not to do well on the free agent market,* and he is defense is a liability. Rosenthal suggests that Uggla could broaden his free agency horizons by a move to third, but that was suggested by multiple teams who were looking to trade for him last year, and his agent shot that out of the water, saying that Uggla has “performed remarkably over these four years at second base and there should be no reason to consider a position change at this time.” If he is in such denial about his client’s defensive value, perhaps he’s in denial about his market value too.

One other possibility: Uggla is trying to get out of Miami right now and is rejecting this offer in order to try to get the Marlins to non-tender him before he goes to arbitration this year. That would cut against previous comments Uggla has said about wanting to stay in Florida and, of course, there’s still the open question as to whether there is a contract bigger than $48 million waiting for him out on the market someplace.

*Bret Boone was the last free agent second baseman to land a contract worth more than $25 million. Luis Castillo got $25 million from the Mets two years ago, and the team regretted the signing before the ink was even dry. A handful of second basemen got large deals from their own teams — Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley and Brian Roberts — but that second basemen just don’t do that well in free agency.

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.