Survivor Smacked Me In The Chops

Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: “I’m a motorcycle dealer”


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

• Kent explains to the camera that last week he went back and forth on whether to direct his alliance to vote out Jonathan, ultimately deciding against it. Moments later Jonathan tells the camera: “I think Jeff and I have built a trust with each other.”

• The two remaining tribes merge, creating one 11-person tribe. Kent makes it clear that he wants to get rid of Jonathan and Michael, both of whom are returning contestants from previous “Survivor” seasons, saying: “I believe a veteran player should not win this game.”

• Upon meeting his new tribemates Kent is pleased that none of them seem to know his identity and when they all go around in a circle introducing themselves he leaves out the part about earning $90 million as a professional baseball player, instead lying: “I live in Texas. I have a ranch. I’m a motorcycle dealer. I’m a salesman.”

• Kent gets into a conversation with two new tribemates and tells them he doesn’t like Jonathan, doesn’t want Jonathan to win, and wants to “get him out of here.” They begin to scheme ways to get rid of Jonathan as Kent tells the camera: “I’ll join any gang as long as I can get Jonathan out before I get out.” This is about the time I begin sympathizing with Barry Bonds.

• This week’s immunity challenge involves every contestant trying to keep their grip on a rope that’s holding up a bucket containing 20 percent of their body weight in sand. Kent is one of the final three and seemingly taunts the other two guys. He says “attaboy Artis!” as Artis’ grip is slipping away. And then with Carter as his only competition Kent tells him “c’mon young buck!”

• Minutes later Kent appears to be struggling and tries to cut some sort of a deal with Carter, saying: “If I drop you owe me one, if you drop I owe you one, OK?” Carter doesn’t really respond and then says he wants to win, at which point Kent loses his grip and is eliminated in second place.

• Kent talks to Michael–who he previously talked about wanting to get rid of–about voting out Jonathan, saying: “I can’t let Jonathan beat me in this game.”

• Kent talks to Carter about what to do, but they’re interrupted when Jonathan strolls over and pleads his case to them by bringing up his “loyalty.” Kent and Carter can barely make eye contact with him.

• It becomes pretty obvious that Kent controls the whole situation and can essentially choose who he wants to vote out. He then makes what is now a weekly forced baseball reference: “If you treat baseball with disrespect you’re gonna get bit in the ass and I know if you treat this game with disrespect you’re gonna get bit in the ass too. With all humbleness, a decision on who goes home tonight is gonna go based on which way I go tonight.”

• Kent’s growing alliance group decides to vote for both Jonathan and R.C., figuring Jonathan will either have to use up his immunity idol in order to remain in the game or will get voted out if he opts not to use it. Jonathan is smart enough to play the immunity idol, saving himself from what would have been elimination, and R.C. is voted out instead.

• In the preview for next week’s episode Jonathan is basically shown going rogue now that he knows Kent and everyone else were screwing with him.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.

Braves and Jim Johnson reunite on a one-year contract

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 17: Jim Johnson #53 of the Atlanta Braves throws a ninth inning pitch against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field on July 17, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: The deal is official. Bowman adds that Johnson will make $2.5 million in 2016.

6:11 p.m. ET: Jim Johnson enjoyed some success out of the Braves’ bullpen in 2015 until a midseason trade to the Dodgers and Mark Bowman of reports that he has returned to Atlanta on a one-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved.

After an awful 2014 between the Athletics and Tigers, Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Braves last winter and bounced back to the tune of a 2.25 ERA and 33/14 K/BB ratio over 48 innings. He also saved nine games. However, things went south for him after a trade to the Dodgers in late July, as he put up an ugly 10.13 ERA in 23 appearances. He was left off the team’s roster for the NLDS against the Mets.

It’s unclear what role the Braves have in mind for Johnson, as Arodys Vizcaino finished the season as the closer, but they have made upgrading their bullpen a priority this winter.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds

Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.