The Orioles don’t have a deal with Vladimir Guerrero, as Jim Bowden reported Saturday, but they are at least looking into signing the aging slugger.
The Baltimore front office undoubtedly spent the weekend sorting out positives and negatives. Vlad might hit well at Camden Yards, but bringing him aboard would mean moving Luke Scott to the outfield, where he hasn’t played regularly since 2008 because of issues with range. Then there’s the other side, suggesting that it might be worth the potential power surge if Guerrero is willing to take an incentive-driven contract with a low base salary. But the Rangers are also thought to have some interest and the Angels could be open to a reunion, so it’s possible that his asking price hasn’t completely tumbled into a desperation level.
Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun was exploring the pros and cons this morning over on his blog “The Schmuck Stops Here.”
If the price is right, I think Guerrero would be a low-risk gamble with a high upside. If he can jack up one more season like last year, he could be the final piece in a potentially explosive batting order that could truly change the subject at Oriole Park this summer.
Mark Reynolds might put together a good season, J.J. Hardy might bounce back, Nick Markakis could turn his power numbers north, Adam Jones could reach stardom and Matt Wieters may figure it out. If that all happens, the Orioles will greatly improve. But those are big “ifs” and there are a lot of them. Plus, there’s a ceiling for their success in the American League East anyway if things do finally go right.
The O’s have the ability to make strides and the addition of Guerrero could help fill a few more seats at one of baseball’s best ballparks. Maybe that’s worth it. But it seems more likely that it will be a waste of the club’s financial resources. Pumping that money into the draft and the international market would be wiser.
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.