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Mets avoid arbitration with closer Jeurys Familia at $4.1 million

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Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the Mets have avoided arbitration with closer Jeurys Familia by agreeing to a one-year, $4.1 million contract for the 2016 season.

This was Familia’s first year of arbitration eligibility, and there will be two more to follow. He requested $4.8 million and was offered $3.3 million from the Mets when figures were exchanged on January 15. It took about three weeks for the two sides to find a compromise.

Familia emerged as one of the best closers in baseball last year, posting a 1.85 ERA and 86/19 K/BB ratio in 78 regular-season innings for the eventual National League champions. He also tallied 43 regular-season saves.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that the 26-year-old right-hander is now the highest-paid reliever in history with only one full season at closer under his belt. The previous king under those parameters was Orioles closer Zach Britton, who pulled in a $3.2 million salary in 2015. It’s a record that will likely keep breaking as baseball’s basic economics explode upward and young fireballers continue to dominate the ninth-inning game.

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.