Padres sign infielder Brooks Conrad to minor league contract

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FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Padres have signed infielder Brooks Conrad to a minor league contract. The deal does not include an invite to major league spring training.

Conrad spent last season with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Central League and hit just .175 (10-for-57) with zero homers over 24 games. He turns 34 later this month.

Conrad last appeared in the majors with the Brewers and Rays in 2012, but he’s best known for his time as a bench player with the Braves from 2009-2011. By the way, our resident Braves fan will never forget.

Report: Mariners enter into a ballpark naming rights deal with T-Mobile

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Maury Brown of Forbes reports that T-Mobile will be the new naming rights partner for the Seattle Mariners’ ballpark beginning in 2019. Their park had been known as Safeco Field since it first opened in the summer of 1999. The 20-year naming rights deal with Safeco ended with the close of the 2018 season.

Brown reports that the deal will be around $3 million a year, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot. Then again, I have long been skeptical of how much naming rights actually bring back to the naming rights partner. That’s especially true when the partner is slapping its name on a ballpark that was known as something else beforehand. People tend to still use the old name and, I suspect, resent the new one a bit. Maybe that’s less the case when the park has only been known by corporate names, and no beloved traditional name is being displaced, but I still question if anyone really makes a single purchasing decision based on the name of a ballpark.

I know this much for sure, though: despite the relatively small cost of naming rights here, none of the most notable Seattle-based companies — which include Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Costco and Alaska Airlines — felt it was worth it. Possibly because they know people are gonna call the place “Safeco” for several years regardless.