White Sox overpay for mediocrity, sign Teahen to three-year deal

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Mark Teahen and the White Sox have agreed to a three-year, $14 million contract, which will cover his remaining two seasons of arbitration eligibility and buy out his first year of free agency.
That’s a lot of money for mediocrity, but comes as no surprise given the oddly prevalent notion that Teahen is somehow an impact player. Acquired from the Royals last month for Josh Fields and Chris Getz, Teahen is slated to be the White Sox’s everyday third baseman in 2010 with Gordon Beckham sliding across the diamond to second base.
His defense is below average at third base and Teahen’s bat hardly makes up for the bad glove, as he hit just .271/.325/.408 in 2009 and a combined .270/.330/.407 over the past three seasons. That works out to a .737 OPS from 2007-2009, whereas the average MLB third baseman had a .757 OPS in 2009. Similarly, he’s been 10 runs below average per 150 games at third base according to Ultimate Zone Rating.
He’s certainly a useful player, but as a starting third baseman Teahen is solidly below average on both sides of the ball. Committing to him through 2012 at annual salaries of $3.75 million, $4.75 million, and $5.5 million locks the White Sox into a player who’s far from building-block caliber and eats up a sizable chunk of their payroll for little impact.

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.