Another losing bidder on the Dodgers looks south to San Diego

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San Diego is a nice alternative to L.A. You get the same — actually better — Southern California weather. It’s a bit cheaper. Way less traffic and hassle. My kids wanted to go to California on vacation this summer and after looking at L.A. stuff for a while I turned my attention south and found it to be way more appealing.

Maybe the tradeoff for owning a baseball team in those parts is not quite as equal, but for those who lost out on the Dodgers, San Diego is becoming a popular destination for their ambitions:

If you can’t buy ’em, beat ’em. That could be the motto for Steven Cohen, the hedge-fund billionaire and runner-up in the bidding for the Dodgers.

The San Diego Padres are up for sale, and Cohen is thought to be one of at least five potential buyers cleared by Major League Baseball to review the team’s confidential financial data.

Former Dodgers owner — who wanted to own them again — Peter O’Malley is already reported to be looking at the Padres.

It’s certainly not the plum that the Dodgers are in terms of revenue, both now and in the future. But at “only” $600 million, you can own the Padres for less than a third of what Magic and friends paid for the boys in blue.

UPDATE: Will Carroll reminds me that Steve Garvey was on his podcast a couple weeks ago and noted that he too is interested in the Padres.

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.