Hill/Turner/Jansen – what a bizzare trio
The LAD have three big free agents this season and all three of them are as unlikely as they come. At some point, all three of them had to think their major league careers were either over, never going to happen, or be satisfied with making a team every spring. By the end of this week, this trio may be close to scoring a combined quarter million in earnings.
Kenley Jansen is now the all-time Dodger save leader, but at age 21, he was still a horrible hitting catcher in A ball. If not for the switch to pitcher, it is doubtful that Jansen would still be in professional baseball. And what a switch it was, quite possibly the greatest switch in history from full-time position player to pitcher. Jansen should be looking at something like a 5/80 deal this winter, possibly more, doubtfully less.
Rich Hill has only made nine million dollars in his long but sketchy career that started in 2005. He might double that in 2017 based on 110 innings in 2016. He is 36, has made all of 94 starts since 2005, has pitched only 610 major league innings. How unique is it for someone to have their best season at age 36? I don’t know, but I don’t remember it happening in the pre and post-testing era of MLB and I’ve been around a damn long time. Just 15 months ago, it seemed his career was over, now he looks to be scoring a 3/40 deal, possibly more, doubtfully less.
Justin Turner was a solid utility player for the Mets from 2011 – 2013. Inexplicably released by the Mets, Ned Colletti scooped him up in Feb of 2014. Turner was 29 years old at the time. He has done nothing but hit rockets since being a Dodger. He has been so good I even did a little story to see if he has had the best three years stretch of any LAD 3rd baseman in history. His comp would be Casey Blake, except Casey Blake could only dream of having the run that Justin Turner has been on. Strangely enough, it was only this past May when Justin Turner was struggling mightily and many fans felt they needed to upgrade at 3rd base, and quite a few Longoria trades were being floated. Also as good as Turner was this year, it was the 3rd straight year he actually saw his OPS+ or wRC+ decline. His OPS+ as a Dodger has been 155, 134, and 123. Yet his glove has gotten better and better. Rarely do you see a utility player at age 29 become a star. Even rarer do you see a 3rd baseman have their career season at age 31 in at bats. Justin Turner looks ready to score at least 5/85 this winter.
Baseball is all about the curve, and for Jansen, Hill, and Turner, this was a great curve.