Not surprisingly the A’s couldn’t find a taker for Brian Fuentes and his contract after designating him for assignment last week, so today they released the veteran reliever.
Fuentes was briefly Oakland’s closer this season, stepping into the ninth-inning role when Grant Balfour struggled, but lost that job to rookie Ryan Cook.
He was owed about $2.5 million for the second half and another $250,000 to buy out his 2013 option, so the A’s will eat that money and Fuentes is free to sign elsewhere for a prorated share of the minimum salary (or perhaps even a minor-league deal).
At age 36 he’s no longer late-inning material, but Fuentes could still help some teams as a secondary setup man or middle reliever.
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.