Would-be Mets, Dodgers or Padres owner Steven Cohen implicated in insider trading scheme

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Remember Steven Cohen?  He’s the billionaire hedge fund guy who (a) bought a minority interest in the Mets; then (b) tried to buy the Dodgers; and (c) turned south to San Diego and the Padres when that didn’t work?

Unlucky for him that he couldn’t become a baseball owner no matter how hard he tried.  Not so unlucky for Major League Baseball:

U.S. officials for the first time Tuesday implicated Steven A. Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital Advisors LP, in an alleged insider-trading scheme they said was the most lucrative ever to be charged.

Traders in his firm had been tied up with this for a while, but he had been said not to have had any part in it.  Cohen is not a defendant in the case, but he’s now mentioned in the criminal complaint as “Investor A” and will likely be a big part of the criminal prosecution coming out of this mess.

Can you imagine if he had got the Dodgers and couldn’t make it to some owners meeting because of a criminal subpoena? Yeah, that woulda been awesome.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.

Report: Phillies making Maikel Franco available in trade discussions

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.

Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.

It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.

Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.