Notes from Tuesday's moves and callups

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– The White Sox brought up both Tyler Flowers and Josh Fields to help fill the void left by Jim Thome’s departure. Fields’ return was never in doubt, but he may not see as much playing time as expected if the White Sox want to see if Flowers is ready to hit in the majors. Flowers, a product of the Javier Vazquez deal with the Braves, batted .302/.445/.548 in 248 at-bats with Double-A Birmingham and .286/.364/.438 in 105 at-bats following a move up to Triple-A Charlotte. His defense behind the plate is subpar, so it’s possible that he’ll end up being a long-term first baseman or DH. The White Sox, though, intend to continue developing him as a catcher.
– The Marlins didn’t wait until the end of the minor league season to bring back Cameron Maybin, their Opening Day center fielder. He hit .319/.399/.463 in 298 at-bats for Triple-A New Orleans, and it’s likely that he would have returned more than a month ago if the penny-pinching Marlins weren’t trying to keep him from eventually becoming a super-two player. The Marlins figure to start him against every left-hander and at least the occasional right-hander. He seemed in line for more playing time before Jeremy Hermida bounced back and hit .312/.413/.442 during August.
– To open up a 40-man roster spot, the Rangers designated Thomas Diamond for assignment. Diamond, the 10th overall pick in the 2004 draft, was shaping up as a fine prospect before blowing out his elbow in the spring of 2007. He missed the season following Tommy John surgery and hadn’t returned to form in two years since. This season, he had a 4.20 ERA and a 58/44 K/BB in 55 2/3 innings as a reliever between Double- and Triple-A.
– As Aaron wrote earlier, both Sean Rodriguez and Kevin Mulvey were included in trades Monday. I just wanted to bring it up again as an illustration of the point I made last week when the Yankees temporarily blocked Boston’s move of Chris Carter to the Mets by claiming the outfielder on waivers.
There were seven AL teams that could have interfered with Rodriguez going to the Rays. There were 13 AL teams and five NL teams that could have blocked the move of Mulvey to the Diamondbacks. Not one of them did, even though those two players wouldn’t have gotten past any teams had they been on irrevocable waivers.

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.