At first glance it seemed odd when the Red Sox signed Felipe Lopez for the final week of the season. They were no longer really in the playoff picture and he wouldn’t have been eligible for the postseason roster anyway. He appeared in just four games before becoming a free agent.
So why did they do it? Draft picks.
Lopez has declined the Red Sox’s arbitration offer, which means Boston will be in line for a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds if the Type B free agent signs elsewhere.
So for a week’s worth of salary they got 16 plate appearances and a sandwich-round draft pick that, at minimum, is worth several hundred thousand dollars. That’s a pretty great job of working the system by Theo Epstein and company.
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.