Unsigned Jermaine Dye opts for retirement

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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal said he talked to Jermaine Dye today and that the 37-year-old has chosen to retire after sitting out the 2010 season.

Dye had a terrific first half in 2009, but after fading all of the way to .179 after the All-Star break, he failed to attract much interest as a free agent after the season.  Unwilling to settle for a $10 million paycut, he ended up going unsigned last year.  He talked about coming back this year, but again, there wasn’t a lot of interest and he didn’t seem interested in signing a minor league contract.

Now apparently finished, Dye ends a 14-year career with a .274/.338/.488 line, 325 homers and 1,072 RBI.  A two-time All-Star, he had his best season in 2006, when he hit .315/.385/.622 with 44 homers and 120 RBI for the White Sox.  That earned him a fifth-place finish in the AL MVP balloting.  He never topped 35 homers outside of 2006, but he had back-to-back seasons of 119 and 118 RBI for the Royals in 1999 and 2000.

Dye was also the World Series MVP in 2005, going 7-for-16 with a homer and three RBI as the White Sox swept the Astros.

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.