“Pursuing A-Rod makes sense for the Phillies”

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It’s the offseason and free agents can’t even sign yet, so what better time to start some good old fashioned shootin’-the-poop over almost certainly not going to happen roster moves?

Today: Corey Seidman and the CSNPhilly.com gang talking about A-Rod to the Phillies!

Pursuing A-Rod makes sense for the Phillies, who have a glaring hole at third base. There just aren’t many impact names set for free agency at the position … A-Rod is not the player he was in his 13-year peak, when he hit .308 with averages of 42 homers and 122 RBI per season. He’s not even the player he was in 2009 and 2010, when he had an .888 OPS and 30 homers each year. But he’s still a vast upgrade over what the Phillies have. Phillies third basemen hit .272 with five home runs and 42 RBI in 162 games this past season.

Underscoring all of it is the fact that third base is THIN in this year’s market, with really only Kevin Youkilis, Scott Rolen (ha!), Eric Chavez and maybe Marco Scutaro available. Like, ick.

But no, I don’t think it will happen. I doubt most of the folks opining on it at CSNPhilly.com think it will either.  But it’s the offseason. Think of this as a bar and have fun with it!

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.