After years of playing at Triple-A and getting the occasional stint in the majors as a bench player Hector Luna is headed to Japan.
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the 32-year-old infielder has agreed to a one-year, $450,000 deal with the Chunichi Dragons.
That’s basically the MLB minimum salary, which isn’t bad for a guy whose 28 games for the Phillies this year were his most since 2007. Luna is a career .262 hitter with a .699 OPS in 339 games as a big leaguer, playing for the Cardinals, Blue Jays, Indians, Phillies, and Marlins.
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.