Report: Phillies have a deal in place for Roy Oswalt

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According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, the Phillies and Astros have a deal in place involving Roy Oswalt and are waiting for the 32-year-old right-hander to decide whether he wants to waive his no-trade clause. 

Berman writes that the two sides “have agreed on the amount of money” that the Astros will eat from Oswalt’s contract and the players that the Phillies will be sending to Houston.

If the report is true and the deal is only pending Oswalt’s approval, our guess is that he goes.  The Astros are a lost franchise and currently reside in fifth place in the National League Central.  They need him to take his hefty contract elsewhere, and he’d be wise to jump at the opportunity to play for a contender.

Oswalt has a 3.42 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 129 innings this season.  He is owed about $5 million for the rest of this season, $16 million for 2011 and he also carries a $16 million option for 2012.  He wants that option picked up by the team that acquires him and that may be causing the hold-up.  Oswalt will be 34 at the start of the 2012 season and he turns 35 during it.  His numbers haven’t declined this season — in fact, he’s seen a bit of a resurgence — but the Phillies probably don’t want to pay for former Houston general manager Tim Purpura’s mistakes.  He made a whole lot of them during his short stay with the club.

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.