Phillies president confident about retaining Cole Hamels

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The Phillies haven’t made much progress this winter toward a long-term extension for Cole Hamels. But team president David Montgomery told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that there’s a sense of confidence something will eventually get done:

“I don’t think it’s difficult,” Montgomery said. “We’ve let Cole know we’re anxious to have him stay here. Cole enjoys it here. He’s not only been a quality pitcher, but he involves himself in the community. It’ll probably come down to what we think is an appropriate length and what they think. You try to minimize risk by not going longer than necessary. And a player is looking for as much security as he can get. It’s an equation that takes time to hopefully get worked out.”

Hamels agreed to a one-year, $15 million contract last month that covers his final season of arbitration eligibility. He is currently scheduled to become a free agent five days after the conclusion of the 2012 World Series and is thought to be seeking a shiny new deal worth more than $100 million.

The 28-year-old southpaw has a 3.39 ERA and 1,091 strikeouts in 1,161 career major league innings.

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.