Cuban first baseman Ruiz close to signing

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MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez has an update on Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz, who became a free agent after defecting and has reportedly drawn interest from the Blue Jays, Rangers, Red Sox, Giants, Rays, and Rockies.
Ruiz’s agent revealed that the 25-year-old could sign as soon as this week and has been offered major-league contracts by multiple teams, but is trying “to find a team where he’ll have the best opportunity to rise the quickest.”
Ruiz isn’t on the same level as fellow Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, who signed with the Reds last month for $25.5 million, but he’s expected to get several million dollars and should be fairly close to MLB-ready. Ruiz is 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, but runs fairly well and has played some left field in addition to first base. He’s consistently posted big batting averages in Cuba, but hasn’t shown a ton of power.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.