It’s still pretty early on in the spring for notable cuts, but one from Tuesday will force me to revise my projections a bit, as the Royals optioned right-hander Carlos Rosa to Triple-A.
Now, I’m sure most won’t care about such a move. Rosa was, at best, going to be a setup man for one of the worst teams in baseball. He was regarded as one of the Royals’ best prospects at one time, but that changed due to injuries that eventually led to his conversion from a starter into a reliever.
Rosa, though, showed some real promise while working out of the pen last year. Here’s the writeup I gave him for the Rotoworld draft guide:
Instead of signing Kyle Farnsworth and Juan Cruz to multi-year deals, maybe the Royals should have just given Rosa a chance to win a job out of spring training last year. The right-hander, who was one possibility to go to the Marlins for Mike Jacobs before Leo Nunez was traded instead, didn’t have an exceptional Triple-A ERA in his first year as a reliever, but he fanned 80 batters and allowed just six homers in 71 innings in the Pacific Coast League. The Royals finally called him up in September and he picked up a save in his season debut on his way to amassing a 3.38 ERA in 10 2/3 innings. Rosa works at 93-96 mph as a reliever, and along with his hard slider, he still uses the average changeup he honed as a starter. The package should make him a nice setup man, perhaps right from the start of 2010. He definitely deserves the opportunity to overtake Farnsworth and Cruz.
Of course, there’s no real harm in the Royals’ decision to send Rosa down for a few weeks in order to take a longer look at Rule 5 pick Edgar Osuna and some guys who are out of options. It’s not like a handful of innings in April are going to make the difference in whether they reach the postseason. It’s just that it’s disappointing how rarely talent seems to win out in Kansas City.
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.