Seems like storylines are flying all over the place this week involving Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and it’s only Tuesday. Time to sift through the muck:
– On Sunday, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com ran a quote from a White Sox source who had this interesting tidbit about the club’s desire to obtain Gonzalez: “That’s really what we need, a big left-handed hitter,” said the Sox source. “They’re saying [General Manager] Kenny [Williams] would give anything to get him, maybe even Gordon Beckham.”
– The baseball world was given a quick response to that notion this afternoon, when White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen revealed his undying love for the young Beckham. “We plan to have Gordon for a long time,” said the skipper. “I
don’t see why people talk about it.” He hasn’t heard anything about a possible trade because no trade is being discussed. Or, probably. The White Sox are known for moving in mysterious ways and Williams, one of the more interesting GMs in the game, is also a wizard at controlling the message.
– HardballTalk’s own Matthew Pouliot analyzed a possible Beckham-Gonzalez swap in a post earlier this evening.
– There’s one thing we know for sure: Gonzalez, a San Diego native, is probably on his way out of the city (and probably the state of California) by the end of this calendar year, and maybe as soon as the July trade deadline. We know this because Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune says Gonzalez is going to ask for a free agent contract similar to the $180 million monstrosity that Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees last offseason. It’s pretty apparent the Padres are not going to pay that.
Gonzalez, 27, has batted .279/.371/.519 with 106 home runs, 318 RBI and 105 doubles over the last three seasons while calling the ultimate pitcher’s park his home. He is under team control through 2011, for what it’s worth.
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.