Report: A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria will receive second interviews with Cubs

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We learned yesterday that former Mariners manager Eric Wedge is going to interview for the Cubs’ manager job next week, but it appears that there could be some early favorites among the other candidates.

Hinch and Renteria both currently work for the Padres. Hinch, who previously managed the Diamondbacks in 2009-2010, serves as assistant GM with San Diego. Renteria has been on the major league staff with the Padres for past six seasons, including the last three as bench coach.

While the Cubs have also met with former Indians and Nationals manager Manny Acta and Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, it’s unclear if any future interviews are scheduled. Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo is reportedly on the club’s radar, but they would likely have to wait until after the World Series in order to talk to him.

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.