Oakland will no longer enforce Lew Wolff's unconstituonal sign policy

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I missed this one from last week, but given that today seems to be all about Constitutional rights and unruly fans and everything, it’s timely enough.

The Athletics had a fan removed from the Coliseum last month for holding up a sign that said “Wolff Lied. He Never Tried,” obviously referring to owner Lew Wolff’s comments about how he’s done everything he could to keep the team in Oakland as opposed to moving it down to San Jose. No word on whether the fan with the sign was tased in the process of being removed, but he probably deserved it if he was, because the sign could have had a hidden death laser in it or something. You just never know!

Going forward, however, the Athletics are going to have to put up with the critical signs, because the city has decided that the Athletics’ policies against the signs violates the First Amendment. Indeed, Oakland’s city attorney said that “the A’s may not impose restrictions against personal attacks or bad taste — unless the restrictions are explained by a legally compelling reason.”

Since we seem to have so many Constitutional law scholars reading the blog today, I don’t have to tell you that those reasons include the incitement of violence or material that is obscene to local standards. Which, considering this is the East Bay, is pretty much nothin’.

So feel free to fly your Anti-A’s flags in the Coliseum, folks. Even if doing so makes Lew Wolff try even harder to get his team in a private facility where he can control every single thing you do.

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.