Japanese team agrees to post reliever Hiroki Sanada

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Japanese relief pitcher Hiroki Sanada’s exclusive negotiating rights will be up for auction, as Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker reports that the Yokohama Bay Stars have decided to post the 28-year-old right-hander.

However, based on Sanada’s mediocre numbers and Newman’s underwhelming scouting report it doesn’t sound as though he’s likely to draw a ton of interest from MLB teams.

Sanada had a 4.22 ERA and just 18 strikeouts in 49 innings this season, and Newman notes that his velocity was down this year while suggesting he’ll probably wind up with a minor-league contract at most. And there’s a chance he might not even draw any bids.

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.