Major League Baseball has apparently made it its mission to reduce the amount of money teams can spend on international and amateur talent. There are now hard caps and slots and it has made it much harder for teams to build on the cheap as opposed to going out into the free agent market. Because, after all, even without the signing caps, far less overall money was spent on international free agents and amateurs than on established major leaguers.
Well, now they’re reducing the international money even further. Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that teams will have $300,000 less to spend on international signees beginning in the 2014-15 signing period.
That reduction comes in the form of the up to six $50,000 exempted bonuses available to each team. The way those worked was, if the team had tapped out its entire overall signing bonus pool, they could offer up to $50,000 to six players who they may have missed previously. Now that’s being eliminated.
What the point of all of that is is beyond me, but it seems crazy to me that Major League Baseball thinks it’s priority to take a mere $50K away from some kid in the Dominican Republic when so much more money — multiples of 1000 or more — is being spent elsewhere.
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.