Daily Distractions: Finally, the Dodgers’ new channel has a name.

SportsNet LA will be the Dodgers’ home channel from 2014 to 2039, under a landmark deal announced this morning.

We know that Time Warner Cable will carry the channel, but who else? That could take some time to figure out, and Dodger fans who subscribe to Verizon, AT&T U-Verse, Dish Network, DirecTV, Cox and Charter Cable better hope it gets figured out before the 2014 season begins. And if your provider does carry the channel, how much of the estimated $280 million average value on the deal gets passed directly onto your monthly bill?

The contract is still subject to the approval of Major League Baseball. Large-market teams typically share one-third of their television revenues with MLB and the Dodgers don’t want to share that much, according to various reports.

It’s been a slow baseball news day otherwise, so enjoy these eclectic tidbits from around the league:

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Say hello to ‘SportsNet LA’.

The Dodgers and Time Warner Cable officially announced the creation of a new channel, SportsNet LA, this morning.

In effect, the Dodgers will be televised on their own regional sports network beginning in the 2014 season. The next challenge will be to secure distribution among the local carriers. TWC has already agreed to be the charter distributor throughout Southern California and Hawaii.

Here’s the full text of the press release from TWC:

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Mark McGwire reflects on Musial, Hall of Fame vote.

Mark McGwireHere’s the long transcript of my chat with hitting coach Mark McGwire at the Dodgers’ FanFest on Saturday. I was interested in his reaction to two events in a 10-day span earlier this month – the Hall of Fame election on Jan. 9 and the death of Stan Musial on Jan. 19.

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Dodgers sign Dominican shortstop Carlos Aquino.

The Dodgers have agreed to terms with Dominican shortstop Carlos Aquino, according to DPLBaseball.com. According to the website,

Aquino was eligible in 2012 but lacked the strength and ability he is presently showing. He has smooth fielding actions with solid average arm strength and runs average (6.9 60 yard dash). Aquino is a switch hitting line drive gap hitter with more pop from the left side. The Dodgers and Aquino agree to a contract value of $75,000. The contract is pending MLB approval, he will more than likely start his professional career in the Dominican Summer League.

Here’s a YouTube clip of Aquino’s BP session:

Dodgers have new advertising agency, “New Blue.”

Dodgers schedule

The Dodgers made an important transaction this week that mostly flew under the radar, naming Walton Isaacson its Advertising/Marketing Agency of record.

Three things to know about Walton Isaacson:

• Magic Johnson was one of its founding partners.
• The firm is responsible for some fairly diverse, high-profile advertising campaigns, including commercials like this one for One.org and this one for Lexus.
• They’re probably responsible for the slogan you’ll find on this year’s pocket schedule above (h/t @imyourzero31), among other team-branded items.

“A Whole New Blue” sounds like the title of a jazz album (I’m thinking of a “Verve Remixed” treatment of “Kind of Blue”), but internally a means of distancing the team and its owners from the McCourt era.

What say you: Yea or nay?

Report: Dodgers sign Michael Medina. [Video]

Baseball America reports that the Dodgers have signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Michael Medina for $275,000.

Writes Ben Badler:

Medina, who is from Santo Domingo and trained with Amauris Nina, is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds and played in the International Prospect League all-star game last week. He showed a projectable frame with good bat speed from the right side, power and the ability to use the opposite field. He most likely projects as a corner outfielder, with a solid arm that could fit in right field.

Medina was one of the youngest players who became eligible to sign in 2012, as he didn’t turn 16 until Aug. 24. Had he been born a little more than a week later, he wouldn’t have been eligible to sign until July 2, 2013.

We found a YouTube clip of Medina taking batting practice at his International Prospect League tryout. Note that his date of birth here is listed as Aug. 12, 1996, 12 days earlier than Badler reported. Given that birthdate is such a sensitive issue in Medina’s case, this is not a minor detail. With or without batting gloves, you have to like this swing:

Daily Distractions: Gearing up for the season; prospect rankings, more minor-league signings.

Are we there yet?

We’re getting close.

The Dodgers’ community caravan marks its final day today with stops at Santee Educational Complex (1921 South Maple Ave., Los Angeles), Inner-City Arts (720 Kohler St., Los Angeles), Tobinworld (902 East Broadway, Glendale), and the Dodgers Dreamfield at LA Boys and Girls Club (2635 Pasadena Avenue, Los Angeles).

The various events are scheduled to include third baseman Luis Cruz and wife Maria, AJ Ellis and wife Cindy, Mark Ellis, Andre Ethier and wife Maggie, Tim Federowicz, Adrian Gonzalez, Javy Guerra, Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw and wife Ellen, Brandon League and wife Sasha, Don Mattingly and wife Lori, Nick Punto, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Skip Schumaker and Shawn Tolleson and wife Lynley.

Participants in the community caravan will try to avoid contracting dysentery (if you understand the above photo, this joke will make perfect sense).

Today’s also the final day for season ticket holders to visit Dodger Stadium for Select-A-Seat. Individual game tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m., coinciding with the FanFest in Lot 6 from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and will feature appearances and autographs with Kershaw, Ethier, Zack Greinke and Matt Kemp. FanFest gates open at 11 a.m. for the general public and at 10:30 a.m. for Dodger season ticket holders with their MVP cards.

If it feels like the season is just around the corner, it is. Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 12.

In the meantime, here are some links to carry you into the weekend:

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Sizing up the new-look Arizona Diamondbacks.

If you’re Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson — who among us hasn’t had that thought, if not since 1988 — your 2013 lineup just took an interesting turn.

Justin Upton is out. Martin Prado is in. There’s room for Adam Eaton, whose arm and foot speed and ability to hit for average brings the promise of being the team’s everyday center fielder for years to come.

But something’s undeniably missing. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports identifies it toward the end of today’s eye-opening column, which was heavy on quotes from anonymous players slamming the D-Backs’ seven-player trade with the Braves: “Who is the most feared hitter in the Arizona lineup now,” Rosenthal asks. “Prado? [Cody] Ross? Jason Kubel? Miguel Montero? Not good enough.”

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Daily Distractions: Uptonia!

Kate Upton

A YouTube screenshot of Kate Upton’s new Super Bowl ad. Go Niners.

Today’s distractions are a bit late; I was distracted by news that Kate Upton got traded …

Atlanta became a baseball Uptonia on Thursday, when the Braves acquired Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks. The seven-player trade sends Randall Delgado, Martin Prado and minor-leaguers Zeke Spruill, Nick Ahmed and Brandon Drury to Arizona. Third baseman Chris Johnson, who hit a grand slam against the Dodgers in his first game as a Diamondback last year, also goes to Atlanta in the trade.

The Braves’ outfield of B.J. Upton, Justin Upton and Jason Heyward has already been hailed as baseball’s best, though I think Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Josh Hamilton will make a strong case this season.

I personally feel good for the younger Upton, who’s been the subject of trade rumors on and off for three years — particularly this off-season — without getting a lick of assurance from the Diamondbacks about his future. At least that’s how it seemed publicly.

For Arizona, the 2013 lineup begets more questions than hope. That’s a good thing for the Dodgers, and I’ll explore it in more depth in my next blog post.

The rest of today’s news, still waiting on that Dodgers cable deal …

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