Diamondbacks acquire Juan Miranda from Yankees

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Juan Miranda defected from Cuba in 2004, signed with the Yankees for $2 million in 2006, and has been stuck in the minors ever since despite consistently putting up some pretty good numbers.

He may finally get an opportunity at age 29, as the Yankees have traded him to the Diamondbacks for pitching prospect Scott Allen.

Miranda has spent each of the past three seasons at Triple-A, hitting a combined .287 with a .374 on-base percentage and .481 slugging percentage in 301 games.

He’s never going to be a star, but with Adam LaRoche leaving as a free agent the left-handed-hitting Miranda could be plenty useful as a platoon first baseman who starts mostly against right-handed pitching and new Arizona general manager Kevin Towers was known for his success plucking similar players off the scrap heap in San Diego.

Allen was an 11th-round pick in 2009 and posted a mediocre 4.73 ERA in 16 starts at low Single-A this season, but his 79/22 K/BB ratio in 78 innings was very strong and at 18 years old he was very young for the level of competition. He’s not a top prospect, but from the Yankees’ point of view he certainly represents a good return for a player they were never going to use anyway.

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.