Angels acquire Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for Joe Saunders and three prospects

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According to the Diamondbacks’ official Twitter page the team has traded Dan Haren to the Angels for Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, and a player to be named later.
While the Yankees, Twins, Tigers, and Cardinals were all repeatedly linked to Haren over the past couple weeks, the Angels kind of came out of nowhere to snag the ace right-hander.
Most reports said the Diamondbacks were focused on getting back some MLB-ready pitching help in a Haren deal and certainly Saunders fits that bill, but as a 29-year-old who has posted an ERA under 4.40 just once in his career he’s hardly a long-term building block.
He’s little more than a soon-to-be 30-year-old mid-rotation starter and neither Corbin nor Rodriguez were ranked among the Angels’ top 10 prospects by Baseball America heading into the season, so the identity of the player to be named later is key.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the PTBL “is a top prospect” but is “not going to be Mike Trout,” who ranks as one of the elite prospects in all of baseball. No other Angels were included in Baseball America‘s midseason update of the top 25 prospects in baseball, so while the PTBNL may prove to be someone very good it won’t be an elite prospect. And because of that, I really like this deal for the Angels.
Saunders is generally overrated because his career win-loss record is much better than his ERA, secondary numbers, or raw stuff, and to get Haren by packaging him with three non-elite prospects is a no-brainer for the Angels. Haren is signed for reasonable money through 2013 and is a legitimate top-of-the-rotation ace who ranks among the top 12-15 starters in baseball.
I’m shocked that the Diamondbacks were willing to sell so low on Haren and just as surprised that no other teams stepped up to beat the Angels’ underwhelming offer.

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.