Mark Buehrle on the Marlins: “I was lied to”

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Over the weekend we heard about how Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle were upset that “verbal assurances” that the Marlins were committed to them and that they wouldn’t be traded weren’t honored.  Today Buehrle and his agent took it a step further and issued statements voicing their displeasure:

“I’m upset with how things turned out in Miami,” Buehrle said. “Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I’m putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career.”

His agent Jeff Barry elaborated, saying “Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Marlins.”

I am obviously no fan of Jeff Loria and the Marlins these days, but cry me a freakin’ river, Buehrle and Barry.  The Marlins may have sold you a bill of goods, but you bought, willingly, and knew full well that you didn’t have a no-trade clause and that the Marlins never gave them out when you signed the deal. While we would all like to live in a world where people treat each other better than we do, you know full well that you cannot count on anything in sophisticated business dealings that aren’t set forth in the contract.

I’m sure a lot of teams would love it if they could get more out of their contracts with players than that which is set forth in writing. Promises to do more things than they’re required. Agreements to not take a course of action that benefited the player first and not the team.  If they did, the players would rightfully laugh them out of the negotiating room.  To expect the teams to treat players any differently is silly.

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.