Rumors: Cliff Lee to the Yankees?

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I’m not sure if I read Jon Heyman’s daily rumors piece and Twitter posts
because I actually believe what he reports — because I kind of don’t
— or simply because it’s fun to read the stuff he comes up with each
day. For example, today he has:

the Yankees asking about Cliff Lee, with the Indians asking for either Joba or Phil Hughes in return, which I can’t see Brian Cashman being dumb enough to do;

— The Rays shopping Scott Kazmir to the Angels. Query: would that
deal finally stop Mets fans from @!$%#ing about the Victor Zambrano
deal? Wait, who am I kidding? Mets fans never stop @!$%#ing about
anything;

— He also has the Rays in on the Victor Martinez sweepstakes, along
with the Red Sox. It strikes me that if the Sox thought they could get
Martinez than they wouldn’t have acquired LaRoche. It also strikes me
that if the Rays are interested in trading Scott Kazmir and the Indians
are (a) hung up on getting pitching that will, according to Heyman,
“give them hope in 2010”; and (b) insistent on trading Martinez, that
those two teams should be on the phone, like yesterday;

— Lots of Halladay stuff, but nothing new; and

— Further confirmation, such as it is, that the Cardinals and A’s are going to do a Matt Holliday deal.

Finally, Heyman quotes Indians’ GM Mark Shapiro as saying “There is
an understanding of the value of young prospects in roster
construction. But it’s almost to the point where there’s an
over-evaluation of these guys. There’s almost an over-correction.”

So I guess what he’s saying is now is the right time to try and snag Matt LaPorta, who’s wasting away in my hometown for no apparant reason right now?

DOJ settles antirust lawsuit against cable companies who don’t carry Dodgers games

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Last November, the U.S. Department of Justice sued AT&T, accusing its subsidiary, DirecTV, of being the ringleader in a plot in which it conspired with Cox Communications, Charter Communications and AT&T cable (then a separate company), to refuse to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodger-owned TV channel in violation of antitrust laws.

Now that lawsuit is over. The DOJ settled with AT&T last night.

The bad news: no part of the settlement obligates DirecTV or any of the other alleged co-conspirators to carry Dodgers games or to even negotiate to that end. There is likewise no fine or truly substantive penalty. It’s basically a “do not do this again!” agreement with some antitrust training requirements for executives and some orders to monitor their communications about these things.

“We are pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of all parties,” an AT&T spokesman said yesterday, likely in the tone of a guy who is pretty happy to have had a major antitrust suit against him settled so quickly.

When the suit was filed, I anticipated a settlement, as most antitrust suits brought by the DOJ are settled. Such a settlement could’ve featured a cash penalty or, more significantly, a brokered agreement between the parties in question in lieu of a cash settlement that could’ve led to Dodgers games being carried on more channels. After all, more competition is the end game of the Antirust Division.

As it is, however, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a surrender by the DOJ and a victory for the those carriers who coordinated their efforts to not carry the Dodgers.

An open question, unanswered in anyone’s statements yesterday, is whether this settlement is 100% about the merits of the case — keeping in mind that the DOJ tends not to file antitrust suits unless they think they can win, instead preferring to negotiate first — or whether it represents a new set of laxer priorities when it comes to antitrust enforcement from the Trump Administration and AG Jeff Sessions.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.