Keith Law is dead-on with his take about what the Aroldis Chapman means for the allegedly necessary international draft:
Returning to Chapman, this deal puts yet another lie to the claim pushed by MLB, among
others, that making the draft a worldwide one is about
maintaining competitive balance. The Reds, playing in one of MLB’s
smallest metropolitan areas, signed the player. The A’s, playing in
perhaps the majors’ worst active stadium, finished second, according to
Buster Olney. Another big-ticket Cuban defector, Noel Arguelles, signed
last month with Kansas City. Max Kepler-Roczynski, the best amateur
player to come out of the emerging baseball markets of Europe, signed
with Minnesota this summer.
The idea that “small-market” teams can’t
afford top amateur talent is and has always been wrong, because the
dollar figures involved for these amateur players are low relative to
the size of even a low-revenue team’s annual baseball operations budget.
Teams like the Reds and A’s are just fine competing for young talent, thank you very much, and don’t need an international draft to help them out. The people who call for such a beast want it not to help the small revenue teams, but to do to the market for top international prospects what has been done for U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican prospects: kill it.
Stephen Strasburg got $15.1 million and he’s way closer to winning Major League baseball games than Chapman. You think he wouldn’t have made more money without the draft?
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.