Angels GM on Bobby Abreu: “Right now, he fits our roster”

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Last week Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reported that the Angels would accept a “middling prospect” in exchange for Bobby Abreu and his $9 million salary, but yesterday general manager Jerry Dipoto downplayed the team’s chances of parting with Abreu.

“Bobby is an Angel,” Dipoto told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “Right now, he fits on our 25-man roster, in our clubhouse, on our team. Where he is in eight weeks is predicated on how he’s playing and everyone’s health. … As I told him, if he swings the bat like he can, we’re going to find a way to play him.”

In other words, there’s no reason for the Angels to trade Abreu before knowing if Kendrys Morales and to a lesser extent Mark Trumbo is going to be healthy for Opening Day, particularly if all they might get in return is a mediocre prospect and even that could require eating a big chunk of his salary.

However, if everyone is healthy at some point the Angels will have too many bats and not enough lineup spots for them, and while Dipoto has thrown cold water on rumors involving Abreu and Trumbo a deal to lessen the logjam remains likely eventually.

Abreu certainly isn’t worth $9 million at age 38, but he’s also not totally washed up. He posted a .353 on-base percentage in 142 games last season, topping a .350 mark for the 14th consecutive year, and also chipped in 21 steals. He’d be useful for plenty of teams if the Angels cover a lot of salary and want a little in return.

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.