No Game 1 for Cablevision subscribers

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The weeks-long dispute between FOX and Cablevision rages on and, despite some last minute negotiating that gave some people hope, negotiations have broken down and Game 1 of the World Series will not appear on Cablevision. Predictably, each side blames the other, with FOX calling Cablevision’s last offer “a publicity stunt” and Cablevision accusing FOX of negotiating in bad faith.

While it’s easy to see this as a battle of two big companies motivated by greed — which happens to be partially true, of course — there’s a lot more going on here.  We’re in the middle, or maybe at the beginning, of a fundamental shift in how content gets delivered. Content companies like FOX are increasingly able to bypass cable companies like Cablevision.  There are already a handful of ways for viewers to bypass the cable companies and get that content — HD antennas and live streaming come to mind — and as time goes on there will be even more and easier ways to accomplish this.  The people who provide the content will be able to flex their muscles more and more as they find themselves with greater leverage over cable providers, and as such, we’re going to continue to see this story play out.

Not that that makes Cablevision subscribers who want to watch Cliff Lee take on Tim Lincecum tonight feel any better.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.