Carl Pavano to accept Twins' arbitration offer

Leave a comment

Arbitration decisions don’t have to be made until midnight, but Carl Pavano has reportedly decided to accept the Twins’ offer after failing to find a multi-year deal on the open market.
It was a win-win situation for the Twins, who would have received a draft pick between the first and second rounds if the Type B free agent signed elsewhere and will now get to retain Pavano without having to make a commitment beyond 2010.
Pavano went 14-9 with a 4.62 ERA following a rough April, including 5-4 with a 4.62 ERA in a dozen starts for the Twins, and his secondary numbers–which include a 147/39 K/BB ratio in 199 innings overall–were also encouraging. He’s far from a top-of-the-rotation option and Pavano’s lengthy injury history no doubt scared teams off, but the one-year commitment lessens the Twins’ risk and he should be a solid No. 3 starter for a team that was looking for rotation stability.
Pavano earned about $4.5 million in 2009 via an incentive-laden one-year contract with the Indians and figures to get a raise to at least $6 million in arbitration, although it’s possible that the two sides could work out their own terms before the hearing. Minnesota’s rotation now includes Pavano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, and Nick Blackburn as the front four, with Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Jeff Manship, and Anthony Swarzak competing for the final spot if they aren’t traded.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.