The Phillies are interested in . . . Willie Bloomquist?

Leave a comment

It’s not easy being a Phillies fan at the moment. The team keeps losing, half the infield is injured and your manager is doing crazy stuff like naming Omar Infante and Ryan Howard to the All-Star team instead of Joey Votto. Chaos, basically.

Then you have to wake up on a fine Monday morning and read that your team is seriously considering a trade for the Royals’ Willie Bloomquist.

Look, I like Willie Bloomquist in a Jose Oquendo kind of way. He plays every position. He’s also fast and is, by all accounts a nice guy.  But the man has zero pop and at his best — his absolute best — he’s a poor on-base guy.  Useful? I guess he is inasmuch as his versatility could help prevent a forfeit if the rest of the team suffers from some staggered food poisoning event or something. But really, he’s like a Swiss Army knife with three dull blades, rusty scissors and a broken corkscrew. He does a million things, only none of them well.

Chase Utley is going to be gone for a long time. Placido Polanco is still out. At the moment the Phillies are running out a handful of career minor leaguers out there in their place. Just because the Mariners and Royals were too dumb to realize that Bloomquist should have spent more time at AAA doesn’t make him any different.

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.