Brandon Phillips sat out yesterday’s game with a sore hamstring, but still had plenty of reason to celebrate after signing a six-year, $72.5 million million contract extension with the Reds earlier in the day.
Here’s some of what an emotional Phillips said at the press conference announcing the deal:
I cried about this. This is where I wanted to be. I talked to my agents and I kept on telling them please, please make it happen. This is the best day of my life, man. …
I was like, “Mom, what should I do? The fans love me here, I love it here, this is where I wanted to be.” She was like, “Just go where your heart is.” I really didn’t want to be a free agent, regardless of what all the other guys were getting. To play in the city that I really love … I feel like this is home.
And of course $72.5 million and a deal that will be paying him $14 million as a 36-year-old also didn’t hurt.
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.