Getty Images

The Disney-BamTech deal will give ESPN one game a night to stream

11 Comments

A source familiar with the big Disney-BAMTech acquisition tells NBC Sports that, as a result of the deal, Disney will get one major league game a night to stream on its new ESPN-branded streaming service. The game will be behind a pay wall. In exchange Disney will pay Major League Baseball a “significant” sum, over and above what it already pays MLB for ESPN’s broadcast rights and over and above the $1.58 billion Disney paid for the additional 42% of BAMTech it acquired. The exact figures were not disclosed.

The game will not be exclusive, meaning that fans of the local teams involved will still get the exclusive TV broadcast on their regional sports network and out-of-market MLB.tv subscribers will still get the game as well. The game will be an out-of-market game for all ESPN streaming users. It will not be the same game(s) that ESPN already broadcasts on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday nights. The source said that MLB.tv subscribers will see no difference in the product and will not have to subscribe to ESPN’s service to see the same number of games they can see now.

Given that this does not radically alter the existing baseball streaming ecosystem, it would appear that the point of the extra game a night is to give ESPN some reliable, daily actual sports content for its new platform much the way Australian Rules Football and stuff used to fill time on the ESPN network back when it first got going. And, to be clear, as a guy in his 40s who remembers it, I mean that with sincere affection. Actual live sports, even lesser sports, are preferable to studio shout-fests. At the very least, ESPN seems to be acknowledging with this deal that it can’t live on self-produced content alone.

For baseball, of course, it means a “significant” amount of money, whatever that means. But who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Mariners acquire Nick Rumbelow from Yankees

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.

The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.

Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.

Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.