Several days after right-hander Yu Darvish was dealt from the Rangers to the Dodgers, he took out a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News to pay homage to his former team and fanbase. It was a nice coda to his five-year run in Texas, where he got his first start in Major League Baseball and made a name for himself with four All-Star seasons. On Saturday, the Rangers reciprocated Darvish’s kindness, taking out their own ad in Yomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, to thank their former star.
The translated text reads:
To Yu Darvish
In appreciation for your dedication to hard work and many accomplishments
Thank you for an All-Star performance
From your Texas Rangers family
It’s a classy move on both sides and as cordial a trade as any player — or team — could wish for. Despite all the warm, fuzzy feelings between Darvish and the Rangers, however, it’s clear the ace isn’t feeling homesick for Texas. He made his official debut with the Dodgers on Friday night, looking perfectly at ease on the mound as he spun six innings of three-hit, 10-strikeout ball against the Mets.
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.