Hedge fund manager Cohen, founder and chairman of SAC Capital Advisors, responds to a question during an interview at the SALT Conference in Las Vegas

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.

Edwin Encarnacion: “I think [the Blue Jays] got too hasty in making their decision.”

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.

Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:

“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’

Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.

Sammy Sosa compares himself to Jesus Christ

Sammy Sosa
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I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.

The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.

Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.

Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:

It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”

At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.

I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .