The Mets’ new management regime has already committed to using Francisco Rodriguez at closer next season, but that doesn’t mean the right-hander can put the events of August 11 behind him. At least, not yet.
According to the New York Daily News, Rodriguez will plead guilty Friday in a New York court to an assault charge against his girlfriend’s father. It’s part of a plea deal that will keep him out of jail and require him to attend anger management courses instead.
Rodriguez, 28, was actually quite effective on the mound this past season, posting a 2.20 ERA and 1.15 wHIP over 57.1 innings while saving 25 games in 30 chances.
He underwent surgery on his thumb this fall to repair an injury that he suffered during the August assault. But he’s already begun a throwing program and is fully expected to be ready by the start of spring training.
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.