Sharp observation by ESPN’s Jorge Arangure, Jr.: If Aroldis Chapman doesn’t sign a deal and receive his bonus by Thursday at midnight, he’s going to get a multi-million dollar tax bill that he could have totally avoided.
Why? Because, Arangure reports, signing bonuses that are received outside the U.S., by a non-U.S.
resident, and in a tax year in which the person did not work in the
U.S., are not subject to U.S. taxation. Chapman currently lives in tax-free Andorra. He hasn’t pitched in the U.S. Thus, any money he makes in 2009 can’t be taxed in the U.S. He will, however, work in the U.S. in 2010, so he will be subject to U.S. taxation on all earnings after the first of the year regardless of where he lives. If, as expected, he gets tens of millions of dollars, that’s going to be a several million-dollar tax bill.
Arangure’s source on this, agent Joe Kehoskie, says “As far as I’m aware, neither the Hendricks brothers nor Rodney
Fernandez (who represent Chapman) have ever completed a contract for a
foreign free agent, so I bet this issue flew right under their radar.”
Maybe. But it may simply be that the market just hasn’t developed for Chapman like everyone thinks it eventually will, and that rushing to save a couple million in taxes now could cost him several more million in the value of the contract he ultimately signs.
Still, somewhere, the agent that Chapman fired to sign with the Hendricks brothers is smiling. And amending his lawsuit to claim that if he were still representing Chapman, he would have imposed a December 31st deadline to all interested clubs in an effort to avoid the bill.
When he’s not throwing baseballs, Twins pitcher Trevor May is an active gamer. He streams on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming site, fairly regularly and now he’s officially on an eSports team. Luminosity Gaming announced the organization added May last Friday. It appears he’ll be streaming and commentating on Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment.
May is the only current athlete to be an active member of an eSports team. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns Echo Fox, an eSports team that sports players in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mortal Kombat X. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is also a known advocate of eSports.
The NBA in particular has been very active on the eSports front. Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov launched NRG eSports in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the Immortals eSports team. Almost a year later, the 76ers acquired controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex. The same month, the Wizards’ and Warriors’ owners launched a group called Axiomatic, which purchased a controlling stake in Team Liquid, a long-time Starcraft: Brood War website which has since branched out into other games. And also in September 2016, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought team Renegades, moving them to a group house in Detroit. In December 2016, the Bucks submitted a deal to Riot Games in order to purchase Cloud9’s Challenger league spot for $2.5 million. The Rockets that month hired someone specifically for eSports development, focusing on strategy and investment. Last month, the Heat acquired a controlling stake in team Misfits.
Once an afterthought, eSports has grown considerably in recent years and now it should be considered a competitor to traditional sports. League of Legends, in particular, is quite popular, reaching nearly 15 million concurrent viewers at its peak in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. That championship featured a prize purse of $6.7 million with $2 million of it being split among winner SK Telecom T1’s members.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.