Dodgers, Astros discuss Carlos Lee. Jed Lowrie to stay put.

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Update 3: Rosenthal indicates that right-hander Garrett Gould could be the primary return if Carlos Lee is dealt to the Dodgers. Again, it’s highly unlikely Zach Lee would be involved in such a trade.

Update 2: Olney confirms that it’s Carlos Lee that the Dodgers and Astros are discussing at the moment. Previous talks did involve Lowrie, but he’s no longer involved. Olney still puts the odds of a deal at 50-50.

If traded, Lee would take over as the Dodgers’ primary first baseman, leaving James Loney without much of a role. The Astros could take Loney back in such a deal for salary purposes, but they’re primarily interested in acquiring pitchers.

Update 1: Sources tell FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal that the talks involve Carlos Lee, not Lowrie, which would also seem to suggest that Zach Lee is not involved. The Dodgers won’t be giving up top prospects for Carlos Lee, that’s for sure. Also, Carlos Lee has a partial no-trade clause and could choose to block a deal.

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ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the Astros and Dodgers are discussing a deal that would send shortstop Jed Lowrie to Los Angeles for two of the team’s top pitching prospects: right-handers Zach Lee and Garrett Gould.

A source told Olney it’s about 50-50 to get done and there could be other names involved.

Lowrie, who didn’t play Thursday against the Cubs, leads all major league shortstops with 14 homers this year and is hitting .262/.350/.492 overall. The Astros acquired him and right-hander Kyle Weiland from the Red Sox for Mark Melancon over the winter.

Lee rates as the Dodgers’ best prospect. Given a $5.25 million bonus two years ago to keep him away from an LSU football scholarship, he’s gone 2-3 with a 4.26 ERA and a 59/13 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings in the minors this season. 12 of his 13 starts came at high-A Rancho Cucamonga, but he was just promoted to Double-A. He was recently picked for the U.S. team in the Futures Game.

Gould, a 2009 second-round pick, is 1-6 with a 5.14 ERA and a 72/24 K/BB ratio in 72 innings for Rancho Cucamonga. While Lee could have a future as a No. 2 starter if things break right, Gould is probably more of a No. 4.

It’d seem to be a very good return for the Astros. Lowrie is having a terrific season, but he has a long injury history and he’s a bit below average defensively at shortstop. Cashing him in while his value is at its highest would be a nice move.

As for the Dodgers, Lowrie would certainly give the offense a boost if he keeps hitting like this. It’d be interesting to see what they’d do with him, though. Making him the regular shortstop and sending down Dee Gordon for additional season would make sense, but the team could also choose to use him at third over Juan Uribe and Jerry Hairston Jr.

Alabama man arrested for stealing a Braves golf cart from SunTrust Park

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Last Tuesday night, the Braves hosted the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park. They lost 6-3. An Alabama man named Marcus Stephens almost came away a winner, however. At least if stealing a $4,500 golf cart that belongs to the Braves makes you a winner, which in some circles I suppose it would.

Stephens lost, however, when he crashed the cart into a metal pole, attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended by Cobb County Sheriff’s deputies. This all went down at 1:40AM Wednesday morning. The report doesn’t mention anything about alcohol being involved but I’ve read enough stories like this to make educated guesses about such things.

That being said, Stephens seems relatively composed in his mugshot:

I mean, yeah, the eyes look a bit red and puffy and the overall vibe he gives off is “I came to the game as part of the Sigma Nu reunion (Auburn University class of ’06, GO TIGERS!),” but I expected much worse after reading the headline.

 

Anyway, dude is out on bail. Somewhere, someone is really super proud of him, I’m sure.

Report: The Yankee Stadium charity is a secretive, self-dealing boondoggle

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The New York Times has a blistering report on the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund. The Fund is the charity the Yankees created in 2006 as a means of making up for the negative impact the construction New Yankee Stadium had on the surrounding community, primarily via its taking over 25 acres of parkland.

The idea of the Fund was a good one: to distribute $40 million in cash grants and sports equipment, and 600,000 free baseball tickets to community organizations in the Bronx over four decades. And it has been distributing funds and tickets. As the Times reports, however, the manner in which it has done so raises some red flags. Such as:

  • Charitable donations have, in an amazing coincidence, often gone to other charities which share common board members with the New Yankee Stadium Fund;
  • Funds have gone to many wealthy groups in affluent parts of the Bronx far away from the Stadium while the area around the stadium remains one of the most impoverished in the nation. For example, a private school in a wealthy part of the borough and a rec center in a gated community have gotten a lot money that, one would think anyway, could be and should be devoted to organizations closer to the ballpark that are in greater need; and
  • There has been almost no transparency or oversight of the Fund. Reports which were supposed to have been submitted have not been. And no one, apart from the Times anyway, seems to care. The Yankees certainly don’t seem to. Indeed, as the article notes, the team has worked hard to keep the Fund’s operations out of its hands. They just got their new ballpark and write the checks and hand out the tickets. Everything else is someone else’s problem.

Cronyism in private philanthropy is not uncommon. As is a lack of oversight. Often it’s the best connected people who receive the benefit of such funds, not the people most in need. This is especially true in charities whose creation was not born of a philanthropic impulse as much as it was born of a need to put a good face on some not-so-good business dealings.

If the Times’ report is correct — and the lack of anyone coming forward to dispute it on the record despite the Times’ requests that they do suggests it is — it appears as if the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund is one of those sorts of charities.