It’s hard to put a real finger on why, but things seem to be trending toward the Rangers today on the Cliff Lee rumor front.
Maybe that’s natural. Since the Winter Meetings began, and even before that, the Yankees have seemed like the favorite to land the ace left-hander. Perhaps these optimistic Rangers bits are working as a kind of media-driven balancing act. Like a run of hey, they’re nice too stories.
Or maybe it’s all for real and the Rangers are going to win this thing. Listen to this:
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told George King III of the New York Post Sunday that he will not improve the club’s current seven-year proposal to Lee, thought to be worth close to $161 million. They’re done adding years and money.
As far as we know, the Rangers have only been willing to offer a six-year contract and will probably not move north of that unless it’s in the form of a seventh year club option. That means Texas is offering less total guaranteed money, no matter what the average annual salaries look like.
But, as we touched on earlier today, there are reasons a guy like Lee might turn down the extra millions to remain in the Dallas area.
His Arkansas home is not far from Arlington, he has a strong relationship with pitching coach Mike Maddux, and it’s not like the Rangers are offering chump change. He can still retire on a big ranch in Montana, buy a penthouse in Miami, custom order an 80-foot yacht, or whatever else filthy rich athletes do.
Maybe Lee will take Texas’ six-year deal, confident in his ability to make that seventh year happen.
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.