Should the Phillies fire Charlie Manuel now?

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Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests that the Phillies should do right by Charlie Manuel and remove the uncertainty about his future by letting him go before the season is over.

Brookover writes:

Anything other than a harmonious conclusion would be sad and shameful, because the Phillies have meant so much to Manuel and vice-versa.

If the Phillies plan on keeping Manuel around for another year, which I do not think is the case, then they should get it done.

If they’re hoping for a smooth transition from Manuel to Sandberg and the current manager knows it, then why not get that message out to the public as soon as possible?

Manuel joined the Phillies after the 2004 season. Under his leadership, the Phillies have won 779 and lost 634 (.551). The Phillies won the NL East five years in a row from 2007-11, won the World Series in 2008, and tried unsuccessfully to repeat in 2009. This season portends to be the first losing season for the Phillies since Manuel took over.

The belief is that, after the Phillies move on from Manuel, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg — currently the third base coach and formerly the manager of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs — will be installed as the new manager as the team begins a transitional period of sorts.

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.