UPDATE: “Andy MacPhail vehemently denied a report today from Foxsports.com that said the club had made an 8-year, $130 million offer to free-agent outfielder Matt Holliday.” Buster Olney‘s source: “The story is not accurate in any respect.”
Ahem. I wonder if someone, say, an agent known for trying to create the perception of high demand for his clients, had anything to do with getting that little nugget out there?
2:54 P.M.: Following up on yesterday’s stuff about the Cardinals’ optimism regarding Matt Holliday comes word from FOX’s Tracy Ringolsby that the Orioles, who had previously been sniffing around Holliday, could be more serious players than we first thought:
Baltimore, meanwhile, did make an eight-year, $130 million offer to
Holliday, and general manager Andy MacPhail did discuss the possibility
of arranging a meeting between himself, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and
Holliday in Austin, Tex., where Holliday is living in the offseason.
$130 million over eight years is $16.25 million a year. That’s way more playable than I think anyone had assumed Baltimore’s offer to be, and certainly looks a lot nicer a few weeks deeper into the offseason. I would assume that, like the Cardinals’ offer, which is reportedly in the $15-16 million range, some of those years are all vesty and optiony.
But if there’s any movement on that — say, one extra guaranteed year or some easing up on the rigor of the vesting — Holliday could easily wind up in Baltimore instead of St. Louis. And the fact that the Orioles are willing to talk to Holliday about this some more suggests that there could be movement.
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.