UPDATE: Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that Abreu hasn’t personally issued an ultimatum to him or manager Mike Scioscia:
“I spoke to Bobby a little more than a week ago, I’d say — a week, 10 days ago — and walked through his current situation, and Mike has had very similar conversations,” Dipoto said. “So, Bobby is aware of the circumstances, he’s aware of the people on the roster. We do see a fit for Bobby on this club, he’s aware of where that fit is. It’s not something that we’re going to play it [out] in the media. … Whether it’s an ultimatum that’s been issued, he has no right to do that.”
7:20 PM: Bobby Abreu’s potential role with the Angels this season will depend on the health of Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo, but he told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com today that he will request a trade if he’s not an everyday player.
“I’m an everyday player. I can still be in the lineup for a Major League team,” said Abreu from his native Venezuela. “I will not be on the bench knowing that I can play.
“If the Angels don’t have a position for me, then the best thing is to trade me. It would be the correct (thing) to do. I won’t be able to do nothing sitting in the bench.”
Abreu turns 38 next month and is coming off a disappointing season in which he batted .253/.353/.365 with eight homers and a .717 OPS, so if both Morales and Trumbo are ready for Opening Day, the log jam would undoubtedly force him into a part-time role.
Morales, who missed all of last season following a second surgery on his left ankle, said over the weekend that he “feels a lot better” than he did last spring and that he “should be ready” for Opening Day. Meanwhile, Trumbo is already hitting and fielding following a stress fracture in his right foot and hopes to be cleared next week to begin running at full speed.
We’ve heard chatter about the Angels shopping Abreu for a while now and they nearly found a match with the Yankees recently, but right-hander A.J. Burnett nixed the deal by invoking his no-trade clause. Abreu is owed $9 million this season, so the Angels would likely have to cover a chunk of his remaining salary in order to make a trade palatable for someone.
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.