Yuniesky Betancourt’s spring forces Phillies’ hand

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Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt can opt out of his Minor League contract with the Phillies tomorrow, which means he will want to know if the team plans to bring him north on the 25-man roster. Betancourt is hitting .447 in 47 spring at-bats which has certainly put him on some other teams’ radars, such as the Cardinals.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Betancourt will, in fact, ask for his release if he is not given a roster spot tomorrow:

Betancourt’s contract with the Phillies, if purchased, is worth as much as $1.4 million with performance incentives. The Phillies could add him to the roster Sunday and still trade him before opening day. But other teams are aware of the glut of middle infielders and the return would be minimal.

 

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.