UPDATE: The Braves just announced that they have signed Garcia to a one-year major league contract.
7:11 p.m. ET: It’s done. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Braves are signing Harang. He’ll presumably begin the year with a rotation spot.
6:30 p.m. ET: The Braves made a surprising decision earlier today when they cut veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia loose, but it appears that they already have a potential replacement in mind for the rotation.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves have interest in free agent right-hander Aaron Harang. The 35-year-old was granted his release by the Indians earlier today after he was informed that he would not make the team’s Opening Day roster.
Harang pitched well in a small sample this spring, allowing two runs on eight hits and two walks over nine innings of work, but he’s coming off a rough 5.40 ERA and 113/40 K/BB ratio over 143 1/3 innings last season between the Mariners and the Mets. This would be a lateral move at best for pitching-starved Atlanta, so letting Garcia go today continues to look like a head-scratcher.
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.