Report: Dodgers, Marlins talking Ricky Nolasco trade

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Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com says the Dodgers and Marlins are engaging in trade talks involving Ricky Nolasco.

While rotation depth was supposed to be a major strength for the Dodgers this year, the team has lost Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett to injury and has gotten little from Ted Lilly so far. The team’s rotation currently includes Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Capuano and rookie Stephen Fife.

Nolasco has a 4-7 record for the Marlins, but it comes with a nice 3.68 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. With 77 K’s in 100 1/3 IP, his strikeout rate has also bounced back from last year’s decline.

The 30-year-old Nolasco is a free agent at season’s end, and the Marlins aren’t going to care to ante up and re-sign him. If he doesn’t go to the Dodgers, it’s quite possible he’ll be traded to one of their NL West rivals in the coming weeks. That gives the Dodgers extra incentive to get a deal done now.

The Marlins will likely seek young pitching in return for Nolasco. Right-handers Zach Lee and Ross Stripling and left-hander Chris Reed could be high on their list.

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. DOJ has 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,” and 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 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.