The Marlins have been content to let Dan Uggla do the arbitration thing the past couple of years, actually going to arbitration before the 2009 season and signing a one-year arbitration-avoiding deal this past offseason. His consistently strong production, however, has led to the point where they have to go long term with him, it seems. He wants to stay there, they seem to like him, and if he leaves they have a big hole in their offense. Suggestions have been, therefore, that Uggla and the Feesh were going to do a deal this winter, avoiding both his last year of arbitration eligibility and free agency next season.
To that end, Jon Heyman reports that the Marlins are offering Dan Uggla a four-year deal. Heyman says Uggla would only get $8 million in 2011, however, which isn’t much of a raise (he made $7.8 million in 2010). In fact, given the year he had, it’s an insult. It’s possible, I assume, that the offer could escalate sharply after that to coincide with new revenue realized by the move into the new ballpark next year. It would probably have to, you’d think, because Uggla could easily make more than that — a lot more than that — going into arbitration this year and then hitting the market next season.
Or, if the Marlins are so afraid of paying him more than $8 million in 2011, they could simply non-tender him. Which would be cheap and shortsighted. But hey, it’s the Marlins we’re talking about.
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.
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.