The tax man is probably going to come to the fan who caught Jeter’s 3,000th hit

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You’ll recall that Christian Lopez, in exchange for giving Jeter back his 3,000th hit ball, got signed baseballs, bats, jerseys and, most significantly, Legends Suite tickets to the Yankees’ remaining home games and any playoff games this year. And that he did that instead of, you know, keeping the baseball, giving it to an auction house and then pocketing six figures for it.

Well, the New York Times broke out the calculator and talked to some tax experts in an effort to figure out how much that decision — as opposed to merely auctioning the thing off — might cost Mr. Lopez:

The tickets to the 32 remaining home games (after Sunday) have a combined face value of $44,800 to $73,600, according to the team’s Web site. The tickets could be worth a lot more if the Yankees play deep into October. Steven Bandini, a tax partner at the accounting firm Zapken & Loeb, said that if the items were valued modestly at $50,000, they would probably carry a tax burden of about $14,000.

Another tax guy the Times spoke to believed that these things could be characterized as gifts instead of prizes, in which case he wouldn’t have to pay taxes on them.  I’d certainly argue for that if I were Lopez, but if that doesn’t fly, he is at least thinking about how to deal with the taxes:

Mr. Lopez said if he had to pay taxes, he hoped he could borrow from his parents rather than sell his memorabilia.

That sound you hear is me repeatedly smacking my palm to my head. A little bit of it is also my heart breaking for this kid, but it’s mostly face-palming.

There is a suggestion toward the end of the article that the Yankees could perhaps step up and pay Lopez’s tax liabilities here. I’m not sure if that, in and of itself, would be taxable, so if you know accountants and/or tax lawyers, please chime in.

That’s all I got right now. If you need me, I’ll be busy contemplating the fungibility of cash, and wondering why more people don’t quite get this.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.