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Red Sox trade Clay Buchholz to the Phillies

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Jon Heyman reports that the Boston Red Sox have traded starter Clay Buchhlolz to the Philadelphia Phillies. Minor league second baseman Josh Tobias will head to Boston.

Buchholz had a forgettable 2016, posting an ugly 4.78 ERA in 139.1 as a swingman. He rebounded in the second half, however, so it’s not crazy to think that the 32-year-old former ace can rebound for a full year in 2017. Buchholz will make $13.5 million after Boston picked up his option this past season. That’s a lot of money for a back-end starter, but he’ll be counted on to carry more of the load in Philly than he did in Boston.

Tobias is 24 and was a 1oth round pick out of the University of Florida in 2015. He has yet to play above A-ball. In two minor league seasons he has gotten on base at a decent clip but doesn’t seem to have any power. Then again, it’s not like the Phillies were going to give up a lot to assume a pitcher with a lot of question marks surrounding him who is making $13.5 million a year.

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.