Twins dump Nick Blackburn and his 6.53 ERA from rotation

2 Comments

After another poor start Sunday raised his ERA to an MLB-worst 6.53 the Twins have decided to bump Nick Blackburn from the rotation and replace him with Brian Duensing.
Blackburn’s situation is made more complicated by the fact that the Twins misguidedly signed him to a four-year, $14 million contract this offseason instead of simply going year-to-year with a player they controlled through 2013 anyway.
Blackburn’s incredibly low strikeout rate and mediocre ground-ball percentage always made him a poor long-term investment, but that ship has obviously sailed and now the Twins are locked into paying him $13.25 million over the next three seasons.
Duensing has posted a 1.67 ERA in 43 innings as a reliever this season and pitched very well in nine starts down the stretch last season, but his secondary numbers and minor-league track record suggest his upside is fairly limited. With that said, it won’t take much for Duensing to provide a huge upgrade over Blackburn, who has allowed a .337 batting average and .561 slugging percentage overall this season and is 1-6 with a 9.88 ERA since June 1.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

Getty Images
5 Comments

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.