Rangers beat A's, clinch American League West crown

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Buoyed by a solid performance from starter Derek Holland and a game-winning eighth-inning home run by first baseman Jorge Cantu, the Rangers became the second MLB team to wrap up a spot in the playoffs Saturday with a 4-3 victory over the A’s.

The Twins grabbed the American League Central crown earlier this week.

Congratulations are in order for manager Ron Washington, who has quickly become one of the more well-respected skippers in the game.  And general manager Jon Daniels, a great and young front-office mind.

The Rangers haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999, when they lost in the ALDS.  They haven’t made it to the ALCS or beyond in the 49-year history of the franchise.

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.