UPDATE: Long and the rest of Girardi’s coaching staff will return for 2014, the Yankees just announced.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has a new four-year contract, but hitting coach Kevin Long is still trying to work out a deal to remain on New York’s staff.
During an interview with WFAN radio Long made it clear that he wanted to stay with the Yankees, adding: “I talked to [general manager Brian Cashman] and we’re getting there.”
Long has been the Yankees’ hitting coach since 2007 and the offense has finished first or second among American League teams in scoring five times in those seven years, although they dropped to 10th this year for their lowest mark since way back in 1991.
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.