Tim Hudson is probably coming back to Atlanta

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And that’s without the Braves even exercising his $12 million option, according to the AJC’s Dave O’Brien:

Huddy is a great teammate, beloved in the clubhouse, and he and his
wife do terrific stuff in the community through their foundation. They
have put down roots here, and have finally finished, or nearly
finished, the dream house they built in Auburn, where he went to school.

There’s no doubt in my mind he’d take quite a bit less than $12 mill
per season to stay here in a multi-year extension, probably less than
$10 mill per. And I don’t think any other team would offer him even
that much right now, not until he’s back for a full, healthy and strong
season.

“No doubt in my mind,” says O’Brien. I know a reporter who will remain nameless who told me that the only time good reporters say stuff like that — and O’Brien is a good reporter — is when they have some inside dish that they can’t quite report yet. Makes them seem prescient, you know. My guess is that O’Brien is privy to some informal talks between Hudson and the Braves, or at the very least has had Hudson tell him that, damn skippy, he’s staying in Atlanta no matter what the Braves do with his option.

As O’Brien notes, that leaves the question of what to do about Javier Vazquez up in the air. The conventional wisdom this summer has been that the Braves keep either Hudson or Vazquez, not both.  As a Braves fan my hope would be both, because you can never have too much starting pitching (ask Boston). But there are worse things in the world to have a sub-$10 million Tim Hudson on the team and a near Cy Young-quality starter on the block to fill holes.

Either way, the 2010 Braves may be the early favorites in the NL East.

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.