After confirming the signings of Xavier Nady and Henry Blanco earlier today, Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that he is essentially done with his offseason shopping list.
“I’d say there’s a good chance,” Towers said about making no more moves this winter. “We’ve kind of addressed all our needs. Our last two were backup catcher and we needed a right-handed bat. It’s not to say that we won’t add any more pieces before the start of the season, but if we had to start today we’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at.”
Towers has certainly put an imprint on his new team in a short amount of time. Though he received more attention for not trading Justin Upton, he swapped Mark Reynolds for David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio, acquired Juan Miranda from the Yankees and Zach Duke from the Pirates and signed J.J. Putz, Melvin Mora, Geoff Blum and Wily Mo Pena, as well as the aforementioned Nady and Blanco. That’s quite a bit of turnover.
The Diamondbacks don’t look like a playoff contender as currently constituted, but it’s hard to imagine them being worse than they were in 2010. I mean, how many games could they have won if their bullpen ERA was the league average (3.98) instead of an obscene 5.74? I’m guessing quite a few. If there’s anything we know about Towers, the bullpen will be better.
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.