More details on proposed changes to the Japanese player posting system

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We heard back in September that some big changes could be coming to the Japanese player posting system. Some details on those changes are beginning to emerge.

While early word indicated that the player would get more control in the process, potentially deciding among the top three bids, that apparently won’t be the case here. In fact, the changes are rather small.

I’m not so sure things will work out that way. If anything, teams may be more inclined to bid higher than they usually would if they believe that they’ll only have to pay an average of the top two bids. Nothing is official yet, so we’ll have to wait on an announcement from MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball.

We should see the new posting system in action soon with the much-hyped Masahiro Tanaka expected to be made available. Bidding figures to top the $51.7 million figure the Rangers paid for exclusive negotiating rights with Yu Darvish two offseasons ago while the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cubs are among the teams expected to be in the mix.

UPDATE: It looks like other changes are coming. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times cites reports in Japan that teams that win the bidding on a player and fail to sign him will be fined.

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.