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Mets 2017 rotation will feature a healthy Jacob deGrom

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With an injury-riddled season behind them, the Mets could see all five starters back in the rotation for 2017. That includes 28-year-old right-hander Jacob deGrom, who told the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan that he hasn’t had pain in his elbow after recovering from ulnar nerve surgery last September.

Prior to missing the last month of the 2016 season with elbow issues, deGrom pitched to a 3.04 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.7 SO/9 over 148 innings. The right-hander has been working his way back to the mound over the offseason and started throwing to Mets’ backstop Travis d'Arnaud last week.

Getting all five of the Mets’ star pitchers — deGrom, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler — to the mound in the same season will still take some effort, however. Harvey underwent a procedure to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome last July, while Matz had a bone spur removed from his left elbow in September.

Both pitchers appear on track to pitch during spring training, with Wheeler as a potential outlier as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2015. The 26-year-old is treating this offseason as a normal one, per Newsday’s Anthony Rieber, but is expected to shoulder a lighter load with the team in 2017. He could ease back into a major league role by switching to long relief, but said that he would prefer to remain a starter if possible.

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.