Magglio Ordonez set for season-ending ankle surgery Wednesday

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According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Magglio Ordonez is scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday to stabilize his fractured right ankle, ending his season and most likely his career in Detroit.

Ordonez fractured the ankle on a slide into home plate on July 24. Today’s announcement marks an unfortunate, but not completely unexpected end to a resurgent season. The 36-year-old batted .303/.378/.474 with 12 homers and 59 RBI over 323 at-bats this season.

You won’t hear the Tigers complaining about this, but the injury cost Ordonez a $15 million vesting option for 2011. You see, he needed 135 starts or 540 plate appearances this season, or 70 starts or 1,080 plate appearances in 2009 and 2010 combined in order for the option to vest. With last month’s ankle injury, his clock stopped at 71 starts and 365 plate appearances in 2010 and 173 starts and 883 plate appearances over the past two seasons.

The good news is that the procedure is considered minor and Ordonez is expected to be ready for spring training next season, but even the healthiest of late-30s outfielder-DH types are a tough sell in free agency these days. 

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.