cashing in
September 17, 2019

President Trump said he has not promised Saudi Arabia the U.S. will offer protection in the event the kingdom goes to war with Iran, but Saudi investments in the U.S. over the years have at least inspired the president to consider sticking by the U.S. ally. And he apparently really appreciates that the country "pays cash" when making those investments.

Trump made the cash comment in response to a question about whether the U.S. was prepared to enter a conflict alongside Saudi Arabia in the wake of drone strikes on two major Saudi oil production facilities that may or not have been orchestrated by Tehran. Trump maintained that he doesn't want to get involved in a conflict, but added that he is willing to "work something out with" Saudi Arabia, whose allegiance with the U.S. has raised many an eyebrow thanks to human rights abuse allegations against the kingdom.

"They've been a great ally," he said to reporters Monday before a White House meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. "They spend $400 billion in our country over the last number of years." And, unlike other countries, Trump said, Saudi Arabia does not want any conditions. "No. No," the president said. "Saudi Arabia pays cash." Tim O'Donnell

February 19, 2019

Patience is, indeed, a virtue.

Major League Baseball's stagnant winter — during which the sport's biggest news was about how a top prospect was electing to play another sport — finally began to thaw today when All-Star third baseman Manny Machado, fresh off a career-best year on offense in which he hit .297 with 37 home runs, agreed to sign with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday. The 26-year-old's 10-year, $300-million deal is the largest free agent contract in the history of American sports, per ESPN.

Machado's saga seemed like it would never end, as his free agency stretched into the early stages of spring training. It appeared that Machado and his agent, Dan Lozano, would fall well short of their lofty contract goals, based on a brutal winter market for other free agents and a surprising lack of interested teams. Only four teams — San Diego, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago White Sox, and the New York Yankees — were known to have expressed legitimate interest in the former longtime Baltimore Oriole (Machado played briefly for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, as well.) But Lozano's decision to play the waiting game paid off and then some.

It's a surprising turn of events for the Padres, a normally frugal franchise that did not enter the Machado sweepstakes until late January when General Manager A.J. Preller and company realized that the interest in Machado was lighter than anticipated. San Diego finished last in the National League West last season, but boasts one of the league's top minor league systems.

With Machado off the board, attention will turn mainly to outfielder Bryce Harper, who remains on the open market and could potentially make Machado's record-setting deal a short-lived one. Tim O'Donnell

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