Adam Lind hit .305/.370/.562 for the Blue Jays in 2009 and finished fifth in the AL with 35 homers and third with 114 RBI. Toronto rewarded him after that season with a four-year, $18 million contract that took him right to free agency.
So far, Lind hasn’t paid them back. The 29-year-old has hit .240/.290/.424 in 1,169 at-bats since the beginning of the 2010 season. He opened this year in the cleanup spot behind Jose Bautista, but he was dropped to eighth in Wednesday’s lineup. He’s currently hitting just .198/.283/.347 in 101 at-bats this season.
That puts the Jays in a tough spot. They’re still committed to Lind for about another $4 million this year, $5 million in 2013 and then a $2 million buyout of his 2014 option. However, he’s nothing more than a fringe platoon guy at the moment, and it’s hard to imagine that he has any trade value.
The Jays already had to be giving some thought to trying 2008 first-round pick David Cooper a look in his place. Cooper didn’t exactly thrive in his major league debut last season, hitting .211/.284/.394 in 71 at-bats, but he’s back tearing up Triple-A pitching again, albeit in a very favorable environment for offense in Las Vegas. He’s hitting .328/.398/.546 with just 13 strikeouts in 119 at-bats.
Now Toronto has another option: putting Guerrero at DH and making Edwin Encarnacion the new first baseman. It’s not an immediate solution — Guerrero is going to have to go to the minors and show that he has something left in order to earn the opportunity — but it is a pretty intriguing possibility. Personally, I like Guerrero to outperform Cooper and probably Lind as well, if he gets the chance.
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.