Mark Feinsand of the Daily News reports that, despite Joe Girardi’s stated preference of keeping Derek Jeter as his leadoff hitter, “some inside the organization” want to see Brett Gardner at the top of the order and Jeter moved down to the two-slot.
There are two ways to look at this, I reckon. On the one hand, Garder’s on-base skills are pretty special. Unless Jeter returns to 2009 form and Gardner slumps, Gardner is almost certain to get on base at a better clip than Jeter.
On the other hand, there’s this. So you see, it’s not nearly as clear-cut as one might imagine.
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.