Cardinals and Kyle McClellan avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak just announced at the team’s annual Winter Warm-Up Event that the team avoided arbitration with right-hander Kyle McClellan by agreeing on a one-year contract. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted earlier this morning that a deal was close.

McClellan, 26, was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. He earned $425,000 last season while posting a 2.27 ERA and 60/23 K/BB ratio over 75 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate and walk rate were both career bests, while he has a ground ball rate north of 50 percent over the past two seasons.

McClellan was the Cardinals’ only arbitration-eligible player this winter and that’s probably a good thing since the team has plenty of work to do in order to secure Albert Pujols for the long haul.

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.