The Yankees don’t want anyone copyrighting the term “Evil Empire”

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Good reading over at Deadspin today, as Barry Petchesky tells the story of a couple of people who have printed up anti-Yankees merchandise with the phrase “Evil Empire” on it and who have attempted to register the copyright.  The Yankees, however, are none too pleased. Partially because it puts them in a bad light, but also because — oddly enough — they’re worried that people will be confused into thinking that the Yankees themselves are selling the Evil Empire stuff.

With the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry way less heated than it was six or seven years ago, this story almost seems quaint. But even if that part doesn’t jazz you, read it for the history of the phrase “Evil Empire,” which those of you who are old enough, will remember as a Ronald Reagan thing.

In other news: the Deadspin piece uses a picture of the Death Star from “Star Wars” with a Yankees logo on it, but doesn’t Yankee Stadium kind of look like the Death Star as it is?

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.