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Jeff Kent lost 22 pounds on “Survivor” and had a torn MCL the entire time

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Every Thursday morning for the past eight weeks I’ve been recapping Jeff Kent’s adventures on “Survivor,” which came to an end this week when he was voted out in ninth place during an episode filled with weirdness and culminating in the former MVP going off on a pretty memorable rant:

You know what pisses me off? I think I’ve made about 60 million dollars playing baseball and I want this frickin’ million dollars in this game. And it’s not even a million bucks, it’s 600 grand by the time Obama takes it. I’m a Game 7 World Series loser. You know, I played in the biggest games in the world and the worst games in the world, and this just sucks.

CBS’ cameras stayed with Kent after the actual episode was finished, following him to the “Ponderosa” where voted-out players stay until the entire show is over:

Some of the video highlights:

– Kent is met by R.C., the 10th-place finisher, and immediately apologizes to her for getting her voted out. He then repeatedly complains to her that “no one wanted to play” and that’s what led to his exit. Then, after eating dinner together, Kent tells the camera: “R.C. likes to talk a lot, but she’s a good girl.”

– Kent sees himself in the mirror for the first time in a month and seems shocked, saying: “This is the longest my hair has ever been. I look like a cave man.” His hair is not at all long in any sort of common usage of the word “long” and he doesn’t even have a particularly full beard. But whatever.

– He immediately shaves his beard, but leaves his famous porn-star mustache.

– They weigh him and find that he lost 22 pounds, going from 212 to 190. “I hadn’t weighed 190 pounds since high school.”

– Minutes into the first episode Kent injured his knee literally getting off the boat and guessed that it was a torn MCL. Sure enough, a doctor examines him and diagnoses him with a torn MCL, which he’d been walking and running and swimming and winning challenges with for 25 days.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

Brandon Belt
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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.