The Cardinals radically shift gears by hiring Mike Matheny

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Pop quiz, hot shot: your manager just retired following a World Series win.  He was the most experienced and successful and savvy guy to manage a major league baseball team in decades. You need someone to follow that act, somehow. Who do you hire? WHO DO YOU HIRE?!

Why, you hire a guy with absolutely no experience whatsoever.

Well, at least no managerial experience. Matheny did play 13 years in the bigs with four teams, five in St. Louis. During that entire time, there were people saying that he was managerial material. They say that about a lot of catchers, but they always seemed to say it more about Matheny than anyone.

Also in his favor: he’s not just coming into the organization cold.  He’s worked with the Cardinals for a while now, doing some minor league instruction.  According Ken Rosenthal’s report yesterday — in which he really disliked the idea of Matheny getting the job — he has forged a strong relationship with Dave Duncan. That’s pretty big considering that it probably means that Duncan is not going anyplace, which may not have been the case if a different manager was hired.  It will also give him some added credibility.

All of that said, yeah. No managerial experience. Not even any high-level coaching experience.  He’ll command respect because he always has, but there is not a long list of successful managers who came in this green.

With Matheny, and with Robin Ventura with the White Sox, we’ll see if that trend can change.

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.