Dodgers get Brandon League from Mariners

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It was only a matter of when and where for Brandon League, and he was finally sent off Monday night, going to the Dodgers for outfielder Leon Landry and right-hander Logan Bawcom.

League saved 37 games in 42 chances for the Mariners last season, but he lost his closer gig in May and was never given a chance to win it back. Despite his early struggles, he had his ERA down to 2.91 as of Friday. From there, with the trade rumors swirling, he gave up four runs in his final two appearances for the Mariners, taking him up to 3.63.

Able to get both grounders and strikeouts in bunches, League has always seemed like something of an underachiever, even though he appears on his way to a third straight strong season. The Dodgers will use him in the seventh and eighth innings in front of closer Kenley Jansen.

In return, the Mariners pick up a couple of semi-promising youngsters. Landry, 22, was hitting .328/.358/.559 with eight homers and 20 steals for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. The base on balls isn’t a part of his game, but also doesn’t strike out very much (52/14 K/BB in 345 AB) and he’s an excellent athlete. Double-A next year will determine whether he should be looked at as a future regular.

Bawcom, 23, had a 2.03 ERA and a 60/22 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings out of the pen between Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga this year. He’s a fastball-slider pitcher with a chance of being useful in the sixth and seventh innings.

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.