The Nats did not agree with Boras to limit Strasburg's innings

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Strasburg closeup.jpgThe Nationals are going to do the right thing and limit Stephen Strasburg’s innings this year. Contrary to what Jon Heyman and Peter Gammons have reported in the past, however, they are not obligated to do so by contract.  That’s the story from MASN’s Ben Goessling, who spoke to Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo about it:

“I’m under no obligation to do that,” Rizzo said. “I do what’s best for
the players and what’s best for the Washington Nationals. We develop the
player. The agency doesn’t develop the player. The player doesn’t
develop the player. There certainly was no agreement, written or
unwritten, or perceived or unperceived, whatever it is.”

According to Goessling the team talked with Boras last year about their
plans to limit Strasburg’s workload, but no deal was struck. And really, it strains credulity that a team would cede on-the-field considerations like innings counts and the like to the player via agreement, written or unwritten.

Makes me wonder, though, what Gammons and Heyman were working off of when they reported to the contrary. They have to know that such a move is unprecedented. Likewise Boras has no incentive that I can see to make something like that up.  Crossed wires, I guess.

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.