Ben Cherington denies the Youkilis trade reports

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Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.com reported today that the Red Sox are saying they’re definitely looking to trade Kevin Youkilis. GM Ben Cherington, however, is denying that:

General manager Ben Cherington denied a report that the Red Sox were telling teams they “definitely intend to trade” Kevin Youkilis.

“That’s inaccurate,” Cherington e-mailed WEEI.com Friday afternoon. “Some teams have checked in on him. We haven’t told any teams we plan to trade him. It’s our job to listen if teams have interest. He’s swinging the bat well since coming off the DL and [is] a big part of our team and lineup.”

OK, well, if I was running a team and I had a guy I wanted to trade I’d act like I didn’t want to trade him either. And it’s worth noting that, among the guys in the rumors game, Knobler doesn’t whiff all that often.

My guess is that someone on the team is giving him the straight dope and Cherington is making sure to (a) be diplomatic in the interests of not making Youkilis feel unwanted; and (b) is trying to make the team sound less interested in moving Youk for purposes of leverage preservation.

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.