Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: “This game sucks”

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OK, so my weekly recap of Jeff Kent on “Survivor” is a day late since … well, there was this thing called the World Series on television last night. However, because I’m such a devoted blogger and at least three people like reading these recaps instead of actually having to watch the show I recorded it on DVR and watched it today …

– During the reward challenge Kent got into a brief disagreement with a player on the other tribe named Artis in which he laughed and said: “All right, relax.” I immediately imagined Kent saying that to Barry Bonds approximately 1,000 times per season in the Giants’ clubhouse.

– As part of the reward challenge Kent’s tribe receives letters from home and Kent gets choked up while reading his, saying: “I’ve got a pretty big family at home. Having your wife and kids write to you, after suffering through rain and no food and getting banged up, that’s pretty neat.”

– This week’s immunity challenge involves launching balls into the air and players having to fight over catching them with nets attached to sticks. Kent dominates the game early, making three straight catches to put his tribe within one point of winning, but then has the ball knocked out of his net on a potential game-winning catch. With the score tied Kent switches positions in order to match up with the other tribe’s top player, Malcolm, and then falls down tracking the ball as Malcolm catches it to win.

– Afterward Kent throws tribe-mate Carter under the bus (or truck, for you Kent-related jokesters), saying he was “out-muscled and out-maneuvered by Malcolm.” Apparently no one watched how the final point played out, because Kent doesn’t get called on it.

– Kent starts talking to Carter about who to vote out and says: “Katie is worthless. She can’t do anything in the challenges, she’s only gonna set us back.” However, he also thinks getting rid of Jonathan could be smart since he’s strong. “I think we need to pull a Penner punch,” Kent says, referring to Jonathan’s last name and making up a phrase that doesn’t mean anything even on a remote island situation created by a reality television show.

– Kent tells Carter that “we just gotta make sure Jonathan doesn’t know it’s coming, so he doesn’t use the idol” to protect himself from getting voted out. They all act toward Jonathan as if they’re only debating getting rid of the two women in the tribe.

– Kent has a monologue to the camera: “I’ve come into this game knowing I’m gonna have to lie, knowing I’m gonna have to jeopardize my integrity and character. I’m still weighing my options. All of them have to do with furthering myself in this game.”

– Kent then makes what has become a weekly forced baseball reference, saying: “You don’t know whether you’re gonna strike out or hit a home run, but you go up to the plate to swing the bat.” Or, you know, draw a walk, which Kent did 801 times in his career.

– During tribal council host Jeff Probst asks Kent if he’s ever played any kind of game with this type of strategy before, to which Kent replies: “This game sucks, Jeff.” (Side note: Imagine if you were watching it, instead of actually playing it!)

– Jonathan declines to play his hidden immunity idol, but Katie gets voted out anyway.

The Pirates are, not surprisingly, leaning against trading Andrew McCutchen

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Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.

Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.

All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:

That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.

The Brewers are talking to the Tigers about Ian Kinsler, Justin Wilson

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The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.

Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.

Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.

The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.