Report: Cubs want Allen Webster from Dodgers for Ryan Dempster

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With the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, Zach Lee, apparently off the table, the Cubs are currently asking for Allen Webster as the primary piece from L.A. in a Ryan Dempster deal, FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi reports.

The 22-year-old Webster is 4-8 with a 4.06 ERA and an 85/35 K/BB ratio in 88 2/3 innings for Double-A Chattanooga. Known as a groundball pitcher with his low-90s sinker, he’s given up just one homer all year. Baseball America rated him the team’s No. 2 prospect behind Lee at the beginning of the season.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the Cubs had to settle for Webster instead of getting Randall Delgado from the Braves. While Delgado has better feel for his secondary pitches than Webster does, I still don’t see him getting enough swings and misses to turn into a quality No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the majors. Webster has more upside with his sinker, and if the right coaching allows him to improve either his slider or curve, he could prove to be a big-time pitcher.

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.