Jimmy Rollins on time with the Phillies: “We should have […] won at least three” championships

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Jimmy Rollins, never one to mince words, said in a radio interview with Philadelphia’s 94 WIP that the Phillies “should have been to the World Series four times and won at least three”. Andrew Kulp of The 700 Level transcribed the interview, providing the context:

“We should have been to the World Series four times and won at least three [of them], in my opinion,” Rollins told Ike Reese and Glen Macnow on 94WIP. “But other than that, yes. Besides not winning more championships, I couldn’t really ask for more over what’s happened thus far.”

Since winning it all in 2008, the Phillies’ trajectory has been on a continuous downward slope:

  • 2009: Lost World Series in six games to the Yankees
  • 2010: Lost NLCS in six games to the Giants
  • 2011: Lost NLDS in five games to the Cardinals
  • 2012: Finished 81-81 in third place in NL East
  • 2013: Finished 73-89 in fourth place in NL East
  • 2014: On pace for 74-88 record, last place in NL East

Rollins was asked about that in particular because now that he broke the Phillies’ all-time hits record, many are wondering if Rollins — who has been with the Phillies since he was drafted in the second round in the 1996 draft — would waive his 10-and-5 rights so the Phillies could trade him to another team and begin a rebuild. Rollins had said while he was chasing the hits record that he wasn’t considering it, but he has softened his stance since.

Rollins, 35, is having a productive season, slashing .252/.339/.394 with eight home runs, 29 RBI, and 13 stolen bases on the season.

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.