Can the Red Sox keep both Adrian Gonzalez and Bobby Valentine?

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It was mostly “no comment” in the Red Sox clubhouse this afternoon after the Yahoo! Sports report stating that Red Sox players met with ownership to try to get Bobby Valentine fired as manager.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty has the quotes:

“I just want to play baseball, man,” Dustin Pedroia said, declining to confirm or deny Jeff Passan’s report.

Adrian Gonzalez, the reported ringleader, admitted to a meeting, but when asked if he was trying to get Valentine fired, he said “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He went on bash Passan’s article: “I’ve never seen that guy in our clubhouse before. He doesn’t know what’s going on with us.”

Red Sox upper management must not believe that things are quite as bad as Passan presented, given that the team neither fired Valentine nor weighed dealing Gonzalez when the Dodgers came calling before the trade deadline. The meeting happened last month, so the Sox could have parted ways with Gonzalez if they thought he was a driving force in a clubhouse full of malcontents.

Of course, there are two other possibilities: things really are that bad and upper management either just doesn’t realize it or is divided on what to do about it. That division does seem to exist, after all; it’s why Valentine, Larry Lucchino’s choice, got the job when GM Ben Cherington reportedly preferred Dale Sveum and Gene Lamont.

On the plus side, at least the players are now united in a common cause. Score one for Bobby V.

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.