The Dodgers’ pending deal with FOX is not worth $3 billion

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When Major League Baseball moved to take over the Dodgers last week, Frank McCourt’s new attack dog Steve Soboroff claimed that McCourt was being done dirty. He claimed that MLB was holding McCourt’s ATM card and not letting him take advantage of the $3 billion TV rights offer FOX had made him. An offer that would cure all which ailed the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Only one slight problem with that. The offer wasn’t really for $3 billion. It was for a bit over half of that:

Contrary to previous reports published in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere, the new deal is not for 20 years at a price tag of $3 billion — rather, it is a 13-year deal valued at $1.6 billion, a person familiar with the pact said.

The Texas Rangers just got a $1.6 billion TV deal, albeit over seven more years.  Still, the Los Angeles metro area is about twice the size of the Dallas Metro area, and I presume the disparity in the number of potential TV viewers grows greater as you move out into the larger market.  In other words. it would seem that FOX’s offer to the Dodgers is low.

Which makes sense, because Frank McCourt is over a barrel. He’s exactly the kind of guy you try to lowball right now.  FOX likely smells opportunity and Major League Baseball is right to intervene and not allow McCourt to leave money on the table that, in all likelihood, will be funding the team’s operations long after he has ridden off into the sunset.

You know. Like this.

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.