Getty Images

Mariners acquire Andrew Albers from Braves

Leave a comment

On the heels of James Paxton‘s latest disabled list assignment, the Mariners added some left-handed depth to their farm system with 31-year-old lefty Andrew Albers, whom they reportedly acquired from the Braves for cash considerations on Friday (via David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution). Albers signed a minor league contract with Atlanta over the offseason but had yet to crack the major leagues this season. The teams have not officially confirmed the deal.

The veteran southpaw went 12-3 in 26 appearances with Triple-A Gwinnett in 2017, logging a respectable 2.61 ERA, 1.4 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 over 120 2/3 innings. While he has extensive minor league experience, he’s seen limited time in the majors after playing through several short gigs with the Twins and Blue Jays from 2014-2016.

Still, the Mariners are hurting for healthy left-handed pitchers, and Albers appears to fit that particular bill. He’ll report to Triple-A Tacoma and could see some time in Seattle if Paxton’s DL stint stretches longer than expected — or, baseball gods forbid, another Mariners’ starter gets derailed due to injury.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.