Brewers, Carlos Gomez avoid arbitration with one-year contract

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The Brewers and outfielder Carlos Gomez have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract, according to Brewers senior director of media relations Mike Vassallo. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that he’ll get $4.3 million, which is more than double the $1,962,000 he earned last year.

Gomez was arbitration-eligible for the fourth and final time this winter. The raise is well deserved, as the 27-year-old is coming off a career-year in which he batted .260/.305/.463 and established new career-highs with 19 homers, 37 stolen bases and a .768 OPS. A notorious free-swinger, he had never hit more than eight homers or posted an OPS higher than .679 in his previous five seasons in the big leagues.

Gomez began last season on the short side of a platoon with Nyjer Morgan, but he’s expected to be the everyday center fielder for the Brewers in 2013. While still flawed, he should continue to be useful if the power is here to stay and he plays his usual brand of excellent defense.

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.