The Blue Jays lay off workers

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Ten months ago, the Blue Jays laid off 40 people in their front office. Yesterday, they laid off more:

Another round of layoffs hit the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, as cuts were made all across the business side of the organization. Interim CEO Paul Beeston, just back in the office after a vacation, said the total number of cuts was less than two dozen although he would not divulge a specific figure.

“The number was significant,” Beeston said from his office. “It’s not a pleasant thing to do but we felt it was necessary to ensure the long-term health of the organization.”

The Jays attendance went down by about 600,000 this year. They’re also  owned by a media company — Rogers Communications — that has been hit particularly hard by the recession, so it’s understandable that they’re in financial trouble. Oh, and staring at a guaranteed $11 million raise for Vernon Wells in 2010 doesn’t help matters.

Given that they’re feeling the need to lay off people who make less than a million bucks combined, you have to figure that they’re going to take every opportunity this offseason to make cuts where it really matters: Finally trading Roy Halladay, for one thing. Getting a new G.M. that makes less money than Ricciardi for another.

No matter what they do, we’re entering a long, dark and depressing period for Blue Jays fans.

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.