Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo Day

Fernando Rodney on lack of work for Angels: “I’m really mad”

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Fernando Rodney has made no secret about his frustration with losing the closer job and becoming a forgotten man in the Angels’ bullpen, and Mike DiGiovanni of the Los Angeles Times reports that he asked the team for a trade a few weeks ago.

His wish was not granted and over the weekend Rodney vented more frustration, saying:

I’m mad. I’m really mad. I told them if they’re not going to use me, trade me. They say no, we need you for this year. They think I can’t pitch anymore. I think I can, but there’s nothing you can do. Why they lost confidence in me, I don’t know. It started when I blew that first game in Kansas City.

DiGiovanni notes that Rodney has appeared in just two games this month, but in fairness to the Angels “we need you for this year” may have simply been another way of saying “no other teams would give us anything for you this late in the season.”

Rodney lost the closer job early in the season, spent six weeks on the disabled list with a back injury, and returned to walk eight batters in nine innings from late July through the end of August. And then he coughed up four runs on September 2. All of which explains why he’s been used just once since then.

Overall this season Rodney has a decent-looking 4.50 ERA, but that comes with more walks (28) than strikeouts (26) in 32 innings. Mike Scioscia cited his lack of command and consistency as the reasons for Rodney’s lack of work, although more work would presumably improve his command and consistency.

Rodney is finishing up a two-year, $11 million contract and there’s clearly zero chance of the 34-year-old right-hander re-signing with the Angels. So far for that money he’s given them 100 innings of a 4.32 ERA and 79/63 K/BB ratio. He’ll be lucky to get a one-year deal for a couple million bucks as a free agent.

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)
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.