The Nationals haven’t ruled out giving Bryce Harper the starting right field job next spring

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The phrase “… haven’t ruled out” is one you really gotta take with a grain of salt. I mean, I haven’t ruled out a lot of ridiculous things, mostly because I haven’t considered them in the first place.  That said, this is still interesting to me:

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Likelihood: outrageously low. Harper only hit .256/.329/.395 in his first look at double-A last year. Which is awesome for someone his age, but c’mon, that doesn’t look like a guy who is going to be able to step into a major league lineup at age 19.

Still: the very fact that this report is out there suggests how well the Nats understand that Harper’s appeal to fans and thus his usefulness as a marquee draw. I’ll bet he stays in the big league camp much longer than your usual minor league kid next spring.

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.