Adam Wainwright inked a five-year, $97.5 million contract extension with the Cardinals last March, just eight months from what would have been his first brush with the free agent market. That deal looks like an absolute bargain for the Cards in the wake of the seven-year, $215 million pact that Clayton Kershaw signed last week with the Dodgers, but Wainwright has no regrets about the particular course he took.
The ace right-hander spoke to fans and reporters Saturday at the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warmup at a downtown St. Louis hotel. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch collected the money quotes:
“Heck no. No. Not at all,” Wainwright said when asked if the $215 million Kershaw deal left him envious. “I’m happy for him. Absolutely not. I was so happy to go into this offseason and not have to worry about being a free agent. I’m right where I want to be. People ask me the same thing about the deal I signed before. Do you have any regrets about signing the deal early? I have no regrets. Once I signed that deal, that was the deal I wanted to sign. I didn’t have to sign it. We worked to get to a number where I felt made it fair for both sides. This is where I wanted to be. Do I think I could have made more money on the free agent market? Absolutely. … But you can’t buy happiness. I’m not going to be happier anywhere else than where I am right now.”
“I have got two rings already,” the 32-year-old Wainwright concluded. “Great memories here. My favorite color is red now. I just feel like I bleed Cardinal red. There is no other color I want to wear.”
Waino had a 2.94 ERA and 219 strikeouts in a league-high 241 2/3 innings last season.
He then made five postseason starts for the National League champions.
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.