Alex Gordon intends to exercise his player option for 2016

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Royals outfielder Alex Gordon could become a free agent after the 2015 season if he wanted to, but he intends to exercise his $12.5 million player option for the 2016 season instead, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports. Apparently, Gordon arrived at this decision without collaborating with his agent, Casey Close.

“Casey’s not the boss of me,” Gordon said with a grin. “I’m sure he’ll have things to say and whatnot. But when it comes down to it, it’s my decision.”

Gordon is in the midst of a four-year, $37.5 million contract extension signed in March 2012. Assuming he doesn’t have a terrible 2015, Gordon would likely command close to, if not exceed nine figures on the open market. Due to very good defensive grades this season, Gordon has rated among the game’s most valuable players in baseball according to FanGraphs, even briefly surpassing Mike Trout. Since 2011, only five players have compiled more WAR than Gordon’s 21.4: Trout (27.0), Andrew McCutchen (25.1), Miguel Cabrera (24.9), Robinson Cano (24.1), and Ben Zobrist (22.4).

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.