It happens almost every year: the Giants, for reasons clear only to them, sign some 30 year-old (or older) hitter to a silly contract based on a career year and some pie-in-the-sky sense that he’ll do it again. The candidate for 2010: Juan Uribe:
There exists a player who sounds as though he wants to be a Giant next
year. This year, he is hitting .299 in 378 at-bats. Project his numbers
over 500 at-bats and he would have 20 homers and 70 RBIs.
His on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) as an everyday player since
Aug. 1 is 1.011. To put that in context, the only National Leaguers
over 1.000 for the entire season are Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
He is a favorite among fans and teammates.
I’ll pass on the Pujols/Fielder comparison because I’m trying to give up my ducks-in-a-barrel addiction and simply note that Uribe is putting up numbers like nothing he’s done in his nine seasons in Major League Baseball. Seriously, his OBP over the past four seasons has been .296, .284, .257, and .301. His lifetime OBP is .299. By any measure, by any way you slice and dice it, his current season is the very definition of a fluke. He has a touch of pop in his bat and can play two or three positions so he has some use as a utility guy, but he’s not the sort of dude you make a point of going after in the offseason.
Like Uribe, Giant GM Brian Sabean’s contract is up after the season. The fact that a 30 year-old fluke is sitting out there, just waiting to be given a $5M+ salary by Sabes is reason enough to find a new general manager.
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.
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.