Report: Red Sox agree to one-year deal with A.J. Pierzynski

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UPDATE: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Pierzynski’s one-year deal is worth $8.25 million.

8:57 a.m. ET: Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that Pierzysnki will get a one-year deal. He’ll essentially function as a stopgap option with the Red Sox, as prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart aren’t too far away from the big leagues.

8:23 a.m. ET: According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Red Sox have agreed to a deal with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Terms aren’t yet known.

We heard last night that the Red Sox were “unlikely” to keep Jarrod Saltalamacchia, which was a strong hint that they were moving in another direction at the catcher position. Pierzynski was the best alternative available in the free agent market. And while we don’t know the specifics of the contract yet, the Red Sox probably won’t have to commit as many years to him as they would with the younger Saltalamacchia, who now appears likely to land with the Twins or Marlins.

Pierzynski, who turns 37 later this month, batted .272/.297/.425 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI over 134 games this past season with the Rangers. He’ll share catching duties with David Ross in Boston.

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.