There aren’t many surprises among the season-ending option decisions, but this is one of them: Detroit declined its $3.25 million option on reliever Jose Veras, making him a free agent.
Veras pitched well as the Astros’ closer and then was traded to the Tigers in late July, finishing the season as a setup man. Overall he threw 63 innings with a 3.02 ERA and 60/22 K/BB ratio, and dating back to 2010 he has a 3.55 ERA and 272 strikeouts in 249 total innings.
Veras has consistently been a setup-caliber reliever and fared well when given a chance to close for the Astros, so $3.25 million was seemingly a very reasonable price tag.
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.