39th pick Anthony Ranaudo wants top-10 cash from Red Sox

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LSU junior Anthony Ranaudo entered this year as Baseball America‘s top-ranked college prospect, but the 6-foot-7 right-hander fell to the Red Sox with the 39th overall pick because of an elbow injury and major struggles once he returned.
Boston’s financial advantage allows them to take draft-day gambles on high-upside prospects like Ranaudo when other teams shy away based on the risk or above-slot bonus demands, and sure enough he’s asking for first-round money to sign.
In fact, LSU coach David Grewe told Amanda Comak of the Cape Cod Times that Ranaudo won’t sign unless he’s “treated and viewed as one of the top 10 picks in the draft … in terms of their financial commitment.” Grewe added that Ranaudo “wants to come back to LSU and prove that he can be that guy.”
It’s an interesting decision for Ranaudo, because the Red Sox would no doubt be willing to give him at least $1 million (and perhaps quite a bit more) to sign. For a 20-year-old pitcher coming off an injury wrecked season that sounds pretty good, but the flip side is that returning to LSU with a healthy, dominant performance next season would almost surely make him a top-five pick in line for a bonus closer to $5 million.
Do you take $1 million now and get a head start on your pro career while setting things up for a life after baseball if the elbow problems prove serious? Or do you pass up $1 million for a chance to make several times that at the risk of ending up with a blown out arm? It’s probably a moot point, because Ranaudo is represented by Scott Boras and he surely won’t be advising him to take the guaranteed cash now unless the Red Sox cave in with lots of “extra” money.

Trevor May joins eSports team Luminosity

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 04: Trevor May #65 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the sixth inning at Progressive Field on August 4, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Twins 9-2.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
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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.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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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.