UPDATE: Hunter Pence-to-the-Giants report is shot down by Giants executive

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UPDATE: Well, maybe not:

 

6:47 AM: There is a lot uncertainty about this at the moment. It’s not been confirmed by anyone at the moment (given the hour no surprise). Watch for updates.

6: 38 AMKPIX TV in San Francisco is reporting that The Giants “have a deal in place” to acquire Hunter Pence from the Phillies, pending ownership approval. At the moment there’s no word on who would head back to Philly if the deal is approved.

The Phillies have been letting other clubs know that Pence is available for several days now, and the Giants’ three-runs over three games against the Dodgers this past weekend may very well have been the final impetus Brian Sabean needed to add a bat.

Pence is hitting .268/.333/.44 on the season with 17 home runs and 59 RBI. He struggled in April, raked in May and June and has once again hit the skids in July so it’s been something of an erratic year for him.  Still, he’d represent a power upgrade for the Giants who only have two dudes with as many as 10 home runs. Pence is 30 and he’s got one year left of team control, and his arbitration award in 2013 could be around $12-13 million bucks.

The ownership approval part is interesting. I assume that means Giants owners given it would require them taking on a largish salary commitment. Could be the Phillies owners, though. But really, I see no reason why the people who currently own the Phillies — the Atlanta Braves — would balk at such a deal.

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.