REPORT: Yankees acquire Javier Vazquez and a reliever from the Braves for Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn

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Javier Vazquez headshot.pngMultiple sources, including Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman and the Daily News’ Mark Feinsand are reporting that the Yankees and Braves have agreed to a trade in which the Braves will send starter Javier Vazquez and reliever Boone Logan to the Yankees in exchange for Melky Cabrera, lefty Mike Dunn and an as yet unnamed prospect. UPDATE: Joel Sherman tweets that the prospect is righty pitcher Arodys Vizcaino, who he says impressed in a short season for Staten Island this year. [random thought: with that name, how many Braves fans can I fool by saying that they got “Arod” from the Yankees?]

Instant analysis: the Braves and their fans would probably rather have Nick Swisher, but Melky may translate well to the NL, and Nate McLouth — despite his gold glove — could slide over to left field where he probably belongs.  For the Yankees, Vazquez would help fill out a rotation that currently looks light once you get beyond Sabathia and Burnett.  Pettitte is going to crater one of these days. I’ve never bought the notion that the Yankees would put both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in the rotation. Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre are not exactly championship starters.

The big question: did the Yankees buy-high on Vazquez? He’s coming off his best season and given his strikeout rate, there’s good reason to believe that he’ll be highly effective in 2010. But he does give up a lot of dingers, and that will only get worse in the bandbox that is New Yankee Stadium.

Ultimately, however, Melky Cabrera is eminently replaceable, and Vazquez solidifies the rotation, which was one of Brian Cashman’s top priorities, so it’s a good deal for New York, even if the talk radio freaks will be complaining about his performance in 2004 all day.

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.