Report: Rangers, Red Sox discussed Ellsbury, Beckett deal

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According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the Rangers and Red Sox discussed a blockbuster trade that would have sent Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett and Kelly Shoppach to Texas for undisclosed players.

Two sources told Bradford of the talks, with one describing them as preliminary and another talking about them as more advanced before falling apart. If that’s true, the talks likely died before Monday night’s deal that sent Geovany Soto to Texas. The Rangers also acquired Ryan Dempster just before Tuesday’s deadline.

The Red Sox might not have needed much back in return for Beckett and Shoppach, but they would have wanted some top talent in exchange for Ellsbury, the 2011 AL MVP runner-up who won’t be a free agent until after next season. They may have even requested shortstop Jurickson Profar, who is regarded by many as the game’s top position prospect.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The two teams could explore a deal again in the offseason if Ellsbury doesn’t prove amenable to a contract extension with the Red Sox.

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.