Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: Nobody puts Jeff in a corner

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I watched Jeff Kent on “Survivor” last night so you didn’t have to …

• This week’s reward challenge involved each player holding a small idol on a tray and trying to slap the idol off the tray of their opponent. In the first round Kent beat his opponent, Malcolm, but they were matched up again to break the tie in the final round and Malcolm beat Kent to win the challenge.

• During the obstacle course immunity challenge Kent stayed back at the beginning to basically carry a female tribe-mate, Katie, who was really struggling. Later the tribe chose Kent to chop wood with a small hatchet, which when chopped all the way through released the next portion of the challenge. Kent started to slow down about halfway through and his tribe-mate Jonathan subbed for him.

• Kent’s tribe lost by about three seconds and for the first time they had to vote someone off the island, so he immediately approached new tribe member Denise about joining his alliance. She agreed, giving Kent’s group majority voting power.

• “Right now it comes down to who’s going to hold the most value in the challenges for us,” Kent explained while trying to determine which female tribe-mate to vote off, showing a pretty good understanding of how the Wins Above Replacement concept can apply to something other than baseball.

• In talking about the possibility of voting out Dawson, a female tribe-mate who performed poorly in the immunity challenge, Kent hilariously said: “I’m fricking fumed.” Actually, it was more like “I’m frickin’ fuuuumed.” And then he spit, like he was standing at second base between pitches.

• Dawson, who’s the only person aware of Kent’s baseball days, decided to tweak him by bringing up sports as a conversation topic. Here’s an except of their exchange while lounging around the campsite:

Dawson: “Maybe I should date an athlete.”
Kent: “What do you consider an athlete?”
Dawson: “Basketball … and I guess at the end maybe baseball. … There’s too much standing around.”

Then she admitted to the camera that she knew about Kent and explained: “I enjoy … making him uncomfortable. I feel like I’ve got a little mouse that doesn’t know it’s in a corner.”

• Kent started to get nervous, saying to the camera: “Dawson starts talking a lot of sports, so I’m walking on egg shells. Right now I’m having a good time with these people being normal. And I am normal. If they end up putting two and two together, I’m in trouble. If Dawson knows my history as an athlete, the best scenario might just be to vote her out.”

• Sure enough, Dawson is voted out during tribal council and exits without saying a word to anyone about Kent’s baseball career. Not only does he appear to have a lot of power within his tribe thanks to the majority alliance, Kent’s secret is seemingly now safe for the remainder of the show.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.