Three weeks ago the Pirates demoted starting left fielder Alex Presley to the minors, but he’s on his way back to Pittsburgh now after hitting .277 with five homers and a 1.015 OPS in 18 games at Triple-A.
Those five homers in 18 games are just one fewer than Presley hit in a total of 105 games for the Pirates since debuting in 2010, but Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette notes that his return may have as much to do with Jose Tabata’s leg injury than his performance.
Presley hit just .220 with two homers and a .551 OPS in 34 games before the demotion, failing to build on a solid rookie season that saw him bat .298 with four homers and an .804 OPS in 52 games. At age 26 he’s not really a prospect, so the Pirates might as well find out of he’s worth keeping around.
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.