Adrian Gonzalez is not long for San Diego

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I get a little annoyed when Yankees and Red Sox fans openly covet non-free agent players from other teams, acting as though it’s only a matter of time before they become the property of Boston or New York.  Of course sometimes there’s good reason for such thinking.  Here’s recently-fired Padres’ GM Kevin Towers on the latest object-of-desire, Adrian Gonzalez:

“They’re going to have a $40 million payroll for the foreseeable future, and there’s just no way they can devote half of that to one player.
It’s just a matter of when they decide to trade him.”

Towers, I presume, was party to enough substantive conversations before his dismissal that such comments are more than mere speculation.  Adrian Gonzalez, by the way, is only making $4.75 million next year and $5.5 million in 2011.  As such, he should bring the mother lode in any trade.

Given that the Padres’ new GM Jed Hoyer just left Boston, given he is intimately familiar with their system and given that the Red Sox desperately need a corner bat like Gonzalez’, one would think that the Red Sox would make the best trading partner.  Only problem: The Red Sox don’t have much in the way of MLB-ready level talent to burn.

That may be fine for the Padres considering Hoyer is apparently being told to keep payroll way, way down, but trading their best player for a bunch of talent that doesn’t project until 2012 or later may cause what’s left of the team’s fan base to revolt.

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.