Rookies of the Year to be announced today

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Bobby Crosby. Bob Hamelin. Jason Jennings. Kazuhiro Sasaki.  Immortals all, each of whom got their start with the Rookie of the Year Award.  Who will join their esteemed ranks today, as the major post season awards begin to be rolled out?

AL:  Multiple candidates here. Elvis Andrus probably deserved a Gold Glove this year. And though his bat wasn’t anything to write home about, it wasn’t an embarrassment, and at 21 there is every reason to expect a bright future. But the Rookie of the Year Award is less about projectablitiy than it is about what happened in year one.  Rick Porcello is just as young and just as projectable as Andrus, but probably had a better season in a playoff race.  Gordon Beckham overcame his own manager’s initial reluctance to play him and, before it was said and done, was about the only reliable guy in the lineup.

Beckham has won a couple of non-BBWAA rookie awards so far this postseason. If I had to bet, I’d say he takes home the official Rookie of the Year Award as well.  None of those three would be a bad choice.

UPDATE: I somehow left Andrew Bailey out of this discussion. Aaron’s smarter than me about these things anyway, so you should probably just read his post. I still think they’ll give it to Beckham, though.

NL: Four guys have an argument: Tommy Hanson, J.A. Happ, Andrew McCutchen and Chris Coghlan.  Because the latter two get way less attention due to their Pittsburghality and Floridaness, I think it will come down to the two pitchers.  Happ and Hanson had a similar number of innings and a similar ERA, but Happ was up earlier and pitched from the pen some, which may make him seem more valuable and versatile and all of that to the voters.

I’d clearly want Hanson long term — better arm, better stuff — but I think Happ probably gets it by virtue of the key role he played on a division winner (remember: the votes came in before the playoffs started, so the postseason doesn’t enter into it).

Overall, there’s always way less to argue about with the Rookie of the Year Award than there is with the other awards that’ll come out in the next eight days. None of the folks mentioned here will be silly choices. Indeed, hardly any Rookie of the Year choices ever seem silly at the time.  As the Hamelin and Sasaki choices show, It takes some years for the true humor to reveal itself.

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. DOJ has 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,” and 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 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.