Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: Nobody puts Jeff in a corner

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

• This week’s reward challenge involved each player holding a small idol on a tray and trying to slap the idol off the tray of their opponent. In the first round Kent beat his opponent, Malcolm, but they were matched up again to break the tie in the final round and Malcolm beat Kent to win the challenge.

• During the obstacle course immunity challenge Kent stayed back at the beginning to basically carry a female tribe-mate, Katie, who was really struggling. Later the tribe chose Kent to chop wood with a small hatchet, which when chopped all the way through released the next portion of the challenge. Kent started to slow down about halfway through and his tribe-mate Jonathan subbed for him.

• Kent’s tribe lost by about three seconds and for the first time they had to vote someone off the island, so he immediately approached new tribe member Denise about joining his alliance. She agreed, giving Kent’s group majority voting power.

• “Right now it comes down to who’s going to hold the most value in the challenges for us,” Kent explained while trying to determine which female tribe-mate to vote off, showing a pretty good understanding of how the Wins Above Replacement concept can apply to something other than baseball.

• In talking about the possibility of voting out Dawson, a female tribe-mate who performed poorly in the immunity challenge, Kent hilariously said: “I’m fricking fumed.” Actually, it was more like “I’m frickin’ fuuuumed.” And then he spit, like he was standing at second base between pitches.

• Dawson, who’s the only person aware of Kent’s baseball days, decided to tweak him by bringing up sports as a conversation topic. Here’s an except of their exchange while lounging around the campsite:

Dawson: “Maybe I should date an athlete.”
Kent: “What do you consider an athlete?”
Dawson: “Basketball … and I guess at the end maybe baseball. … There’s too much standing around.”

Then she admitted to the camera that she knew about Kent and explained: “I enjoy … making him uncomfortable. I feel like I’ve got a little mouse that doesn’t know it’s in a corner.”

• Kent started to get nervous, saying to the camera: “Dawson starts talking a lot of sports, so I’m walking on egg shells. Right now I’m having a good time with these people being normal. And I am normal. If they end up putting two and two together, I’m in trouble. If Dawson knows my history as an athlete, the best scenario might just be to vote her out.”

• Sure enough, Dawson is voted out during tribal council and exits without saying a word to anyone about Kent’s baseball career. Not only does he appear to have a lot of power within his tribe thanks to the majority alliance, Kent’s secret is seemingly now safe for the remainder of the show.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.