Cubs cut Kevin Millar, Chad Tracy wins bench job

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Chad Tracy just beat out Kevin Millar for the final bench spot in Chicago, with the Cubs releasing the 38-year-old Millar this afternoon.
In choosing Tracy over Millar the Cubs went with a left-handed bat over a right-handed bat, but also went with someone nearly a decade younger and with more defensive versatility.
Injuries and age have turned Tracy from a poor defensive third baseman to an emergency option at the hot corner, but he has about 2,500 more innings of experience at the position than Millar and is a more viable (or at least somewhat palatable) backup to Aramis Ramirez.
Meanwhile, an ESPNDallas.com report yesterday suggested that the Rangers were keeping tabs on Millar as a potential bench option and may now be interested in signing him off the scrap heap. If that happens the Rangers’ interest in Mike Lowell would presumably decline even further than it has already, although Lowell even more so than Tracy offers quite a bit more defensive value than Millar even with all his injuries.

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.