UPDATE: Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the deal is done and about to be announced.
1:32 PM: Heyman reports that Nate Schierholtz is in the deal too. That at least gives the Phillies and outfielder. Heyman likewise says that a pitcher could be going to Philly, making this a 3-for-1 deal. UPDATE: The pitcher is minor league reliever Seth Rosin.
12:29 PM: Ruben Amaro is taking no prisoners. Mere minutes after word of the completion of the Shane Victorino trade, Jon Heyman reports that the Giants have agreed to acquire Hunter Pence from the Phillies. There is word from the Giants, however, that the deal is not yet done. General reporterly consensus is settling on the notion that it’s probably almost done, but some details need sorted. The devil is in the details, of course.
The Giants are reported to be sending back catching prospect Tommy Joseph. No word yet if any other players are going to Philly, but Gary Brown, Brandon Belt or Kyle Crick are all reported to NOT be part of the deal. The Giants are reported to be picking up a “chunk” of Pence’s 2012 salary.
Pence is hitting .271/.336/.447 on the year with 17 homers and 59 RBI. He’s arbitration eligible next season.
Joseph, who just turned 21, is hitting .260/.313/.391 at Double-A Richmond of the Eastern League. He’s still young for his league, of course, and he has shown nice power in his previous two minor league seasons. Given that Carlos Ruiz is going to be a free agent after 2013 — and given that he will be entering his age-35 season the year after that — you have to figure the Phillies view Joseph as the heir apparent.
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.