ESPN’s Adam Rubin reported that the Mets had shown interest in free agent shortstop Rafael Furcal now that Jhonny Peralta is off the board and spending a lot of money on Stephen Drew is an unappetizing thought. Furcal is now 36 years old and missed all of the 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
It is for that reason that the Mets’ interest in Furcal quickly dried up, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
But the more the Mets researched the 36-year-old free agent, the greater their worry about his physical viability became, to the point that one executive said the switch-hitter no longer is a candidate for the Mets.
The free agent market for shortstops is barren, especially for teams on a budget. And the Mets are in an unenviable position as Ruben Tejada, the author of a .519 OPS in 227 Major League trips to the dish last season, is first on the depth chart at the present moment.
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.