After Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, the assumption was that the Cardinals would move Lance Berkman to first base and potentially make a play for free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. However, in a series of tweets this morning, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicates that any such plan isn’t necessarily set in stone.
We’ve heard some conflicting reports this week about whether the Cubs are actually a legitimate suitor for Fielder. The Blue Jays have been mentioned, but we can probably rule them out if they land Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish. The Mariners and Orioles are also believed to be in the mix, but it’s not known whether either club would be willing to give him the massive long-term contract he desires. Fielder doesn’t turn 28 until May, so it’s not inconceivable that he could take a shorter deal and test free agency again in a couple of years, but it’s also possible that his agent Scott Boras is just trying to get more teams involved in the conversation.
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.